The State of NYC Seed: Startup Trends & VC Data [REPORT]

At NextView, we’ve never been higher on NYC tech. Today, we’re excited to launch the State of NYC Seed — a comprehensive report on the ecosystem, authored by our own Tim Devane.

Since joining NextView, we’ve talked often and excitedly about the New York startup ecosystem. With many seed investments locally already, everyone on the team has had a window into how entrepreneurship in the city has evolved over this current cycle.

In the eight years since the housing crisis, NYC tech has been active to say the least. The community has given birth to tremendous successes and lots of failures, participants have come and gone, round sizes have grown, hot sectors have cooled, reignited, and cooled again, and founders have come from every conceivable background to build here and seek talent, customers, and funding from an increasingly diverse field of investors. Not unlike Gotham itself, the tech ecosystem bobs and weaves to a nebulous beat.

As a further mimic of its host city, New York tech stands tall and stubborn, with a never-say-die presence through flush times and lean. But our conversations at NextView have always ended in excited chatter about the New York opportunity. And it was these conversations that I believe led to the team’s decision to add their own stubborn presence to stand up for seed-stage startups in NYC … me.

Here’s a long story short: We believe firmly that entrepreneurship and startups in New York are alive and well, and we’re here to support them as local seed investors. With conviction in this city, its entrepreneurs, and their ideas — and given that I’m carrying the NextView banner in New York City full-time — I thought I would put some of my analysis and opinion about the state of NYC seed out there to our world. Thanks for taking a look.


Key Findings & Data:

Seed-Stage Overview:

  • $291M across 175 NYC seed deals in 2015 (deals under $4.5M in round size)
  • 24% of all VC deals in NYC in ’15 were seed

The Warby Parker Effect:

  • Since their 2011 seed round, there’s been a “Warby Parker” effect: brand- and convenience-first consumer startups getting funded at increasing rates in NYC
  • Since January 2014, $155M in seed dollars invested in such companies
  • Median round size of $2.1M for these companies

Food Logistics Startups Booming:

  • VC dollars invested in these companies increased 30x in the last 3 years, but landscape is now extremely crowded
  • “The New York market can be a trap for food and meal delivery startups as the population density can create outsized order and revenue growth that is difficult to replicate in additional cities as the company expands.”

Media & Publishing Spurred by M&A Players:

  • $326M invested into media/publishing startups in 2015
  • 4 year total = $923M
  • Buzzfeed, Vox, Vice acquired 14 startups and raised $1.5B in the last 4 years

FinTech Prominent but Dollars Narrowly Focused:

  • 2015 in NYC saw 96 total VC deals in fintech
  • 52% are in two subsectors alone (wealth management and lending)