NYC Is Savills' Top Tech City

Savills World Research, a global property agent, has been ranking the world’s top tech cities based on a bunch of criteria for years. In this year’s rankings, NYC tops SF to become the number one tech city in the world.

This is just one survey and I am certainly not going to assert that NYC has surpassed the bay area in terms of the best place to start a tech company.

But the bay area is absolutely struggling with some challenges. Labor and real estate costs have skyrocketed in the last decade. And from what we are seeing it is easier to convince someone to leave the bay area and move to LA or NYC than it has been in the past. The bay area is not an easy place to live and work anymore.

Truth be told, NYC has some of those same issues, but it has the benefit of five boroughs, a mass transit system that even with all of its problems moves 5.5mm riders a day, and a vibrant business community that is diverse and talented.

Another truth is that any of those thirty cities would be a fine place to start a company. Tech has gone global and so has tech talent. And investors are eager to fund innovative tech companies in many places around the globe.

USV has portfolio companies in about a dozen of those top thirty cities and, while we limit our investments to North America and Western Europe, we certainly hope to increase that number in the coming years.

But regardless of all of that, I am proud of what NYC has been able to accomplish over the last twenty-five years. In the mid 90s, I doubt NYC would have been a top ten city on this list. And now it is number one. Well done Gotham.

#NYC#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    i read it’s become more of a mass transtand system. Perhaps people who want to sit should pay more.The six criteria appear to be roughly in proportion to each other in each city. Parachuting in a web tech giant might disturb that organic balance. Be careful what you wish for.

  2. kidmercury

    Lol I do enjoy Fred’s NYC supremacist ideology. 🙂 I’m highly skeptical this study is meaningful in any way, seems like the misinformed opinion of a research firm. Id love to see a poll of tech people familiar with both cities asking which they prefer. Personally I lived and worked in both and it is no question, bay area is way ahead of NYC in terms of tech opportunities, challenges, etc

    1. jason wright

      The ‘Big Amazon’.London third on the list? I find that surprising. Perhaps Savills is floating its own boat here.

      1. Pointsandfigures

        Yup. Hard to believe Chicago is not on the list

        1. awaldstein

          the posts of yours I enjoy the most are about do a great job of bringing out the schools as a feeder and the deep fintech pedigree.on the other side you are so condemning of the politics, the fiscal mismanagement that it makes me think it would be crazy to live there let alone have a company there.most interesting dichotomy that always makes me smile as you are equally positive and damning.

          1. Pointsandfigures

            Chicago and the state of Illinois have some of the most corrupt politicians in the country by a country mile. They are overwhelmingly Democrats with enough Republicans tossed in to form The Combine. Certain businesses participate in the charade as well.Yet, the people that aren’t associated with The Combine are really nice. They are ethical and have a good sense of fair play.Chicago is probably the most “livable” big urban city in America. Stunningly beautiful in many places, tremendous food and culture.I grew up here raised my kids in the city but I certainly have a love hate relationship with it. Its complicated

    2. Adam Sher

      Tech is a minority factor in the chart above. It’s almost a clickbait title. It looks like SF has a bit bigger tech piece than NY does

    3. Susan Rubinsky

      I’m a tech industry drop-out and I’d never leave the Northeast. Too warm and too superficial there on the West Coast.

      1. kidmercury

        sure, though i think for those whose primary living requirement is oppoturnity to advance one’s career in technology, i think the bay area is far ahead of NYC. i agree there is more to life and i wouldn’t want to live in the bay area either.

  3. Mike Zamansky

    So we can finally put to rest that “Silicon Alley” naming nonsense?

    1. fredwilson


    2. jason wright

      What kind of an idiot would come up with that moniker?

  4. William Mougayar

    Seems fairly accurate overall to me, but not sure how Amsterdam could be ranked so high and ahead of Berlin for example.

    1. jason wright

      The Netherlands has an EU tax loophole . Many firms set up there to exploit it. It’s not just the web tech industry. For example, Patagonia Europe was based in France (Annecy), but moved to Amsterdam.What of Munich?

      1. William Mougayar

        Munich is not that big on tech, compared to Berlin or Amsterdam.

        1. awaldstein

          Amsterdam–interesting.Great local natural wine scene.

        2. jason wright

          It surprises me. Munich is expensive, but so is Amsterdam, but Munich is historically a major technology (industrial age) centre (Siemens, BMW, et.c., et.c., et.c.). DLD is based in Munich. Web tech could be and should be bigger there. Munich is a very nice place to live. A high quality of life standard.

  5. Pete Griffiths

    All good stuff. But the weather in NYC sucks compared to CA. 🙂

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Depends on your weather inclinations. I personally abhor temps above the 60’s and wear sandals until the temp drops below 30 (I’m wearing sandals right now and we’re in the low 40’s here in CT). I also find CA to be very superficial in general. I’ll take NYC and Boston any day over CA.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        UnderstoodBut you are obviously raving mad 🙂

      2. SFG

        the state is so big that it varies. So Cal is very superficial compared to No Cal. But No Cal suffers from the silicon valley culture of mind-numbing greed.

  6. Adam Sher

    The top tech cities are all located in densely populated urban areas with highly educated workers, and expensive real estate. I’m not familiar with much outside of the US/UK but it looks like Austin is the only exception to the above generalization.

  7. Sebastian Aldasoro

    This looks really cool and I was glad to find Buenos Aires, where I live and work in tech, in the list. But it was very strange not to see Sao Paulo in the list, which is definitely the most important tech city in all of LatAm and also has the most important companies, for example, Nubank.

    1. Sebastian Wain

      As another Argentinian from Buenos Aires, I found this study faulty since the talent pool in tech in Buenos Aires is much much greater than the talent pool from Santiago de Chile. Not trying to initiate a discussion war between two neighbouring countries but it is pretty simple to probe the point based on the tech headquarters in Buenos Aires, even when the Argentinian governments make everything possible to difficult business.

      1. Sebastian Aldasoro

        I totally agree with you and it also caught my attention, Santiago is much less developed than Buenos Aires.

      2. Lawrence Brass

        Maybe true 10 years ago but not anymore. Political stability and fairly apt governments have produced lot of positive change, especially here in Santiago.We now have better infrastructure, a fairly secure city core that you can walk and enjoy, business friendly regulations, government programs as startup Chile, plenty of young and talented people willing to do new things. 10% of the population are now immigrants, many of them arrived during recent years, more than 1 million people. Not everybody likes this but I think that the net effect is positive. It has added to the new vibrancy of the city.Si no has venido últimamente a Santiago ven a ver y nos tomamos un café, te vas a sorprender de lo cambiado que está. Para bien creo yo.

        1. Sebastian Wain

          I completely agree that Chile is making real efforts to move forward while our Argentinian governments… what good thing can I say about them? nothing at all. It’s also undeniable that Chile financial stability and financial infrastructure is an impossible dream for Argentinians. But, there is always a but, the tech sector in Argentina has an inertia that works even when everything goes against us. You can see this comparing the number of tech companies which put offices here and the new startups created even when governments put all kind of traps.One reason for this inertia is the free university education system tradition which with all its faults increases the chances to be lucky and an entrepreneurship tradition that doesn’t depend on elites.

  8. Richard

    Tech’s correlation coefficient with having an Opera House is +1. Invest in Opera.

  9. OldManGoldenwords

    After SALT taxes and very high real estate cost in next 5 years NYC SFO will be at the bottom.

  10. awaldstein

    This is nice–kvelling a bit.On the adjacent topic of Amazon both podcasts from the NY Times–The Daily and The Argument–do a balanced job of reporting/thinking on this in today’s releases.

    1. Richard

      Between 1939 and 1945, The New York Times published more than 23,000 front-page stories. Of those, 11,500 were about World War II. Twenty-six were about the Holocaust.There is little about the NYT that suggest it’s a free press – particulalry in current times.Sad to see.

      1. awaldstein

        You opinion on the Times is of no interest to me really.Want to opine on the debate about politics and Amazon as in those podcasts, all in.That is the topic i brought out, not your media biases.

        1. Richard

          My opinion was not really for you. It is for the those who havnt yet been brainwashed by the NYT. When you ignore (political) science – you have the mindset of a flat earther.

          1. awaldstein


          2. jason wright

            or a ‘multiverser’.

      2. jason wright

        What’s your point about the period 1939-1945?Today’s NYT says ‘America’s Professional Elite: Wealthy, Successful and Miserable’. Is it wrong?

        1. Richard

          The Free Press should report the facts. Then and elsewhere it pandered to an agenda.

          1. jason wright

            I recommend Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent.

    2. Dan

      I have thoroughly enjoyed The Daily lately, and have also found their reporting to be well balanced. The series they did on border security was excellent – I highly recommend. I’ve enjoyed listening to interviews from people of political leanings I wouldn’t normally agree with, but have well-reasoned and logical beliefs. I’m looking forward to the Amazon one.

      1. awaldstein

        They put in a lot of effort to tell the story with the facts. In a format that is compelling.The Argument is more challenging and somewhat more interesting as it is just that, an argument in civil/civic discourse, about deeply divided topics by three unabashedly biased journalists–one liberal, one conservative, one center of the two,Worth a shot if that approach draws you in. Once weekly.

        1. Dan

          I have a few episodes of The Argument downloaded to my phone already, but have been afraid to click play thus far. I’ve been trying to focus on fact-based content based on then working to form my own opinion. Seems like opinions are prevalent enough these days. I’m sure I’ll press play eventually though.

          1. awaldstein

            I really like the playoff between Michelle Goldberg who is so left and David Leonhardt a brilliant conservative columnist as i don’t personally have that articulate conservative voice in many places.Topics like Israel and the Democrats and the changing state of that relationships are really interesting in that context.

  11. JLM

    .Savills is a real estate company. Amongst institutional real estate firms, they would not be considered to be in the same category as, say, a Cushman Wakefield.They are not known for their in-depth real estate research and they are totally unknown for their other research, such as this report.I see a lot of these type of reports having been in the institutional RE biz for decades. I like digging into the detail and have always found CW to be the best.I see that NYC and Austin By God Texas (where I live) seem to have the same comparative “real estate costs” when commercial rents, we work facilities, apartment rents, and housing costs are dramatically different.Austin is dirt cheap by comparison.Austin, which has the highest rating of a reasonable sized US city, always comes away as the top US business location because of its comparatively low costs, lower state regulation, no income tax, no corporate income tax, lower cost of living, lower RE costs — the typical business environment criteria and part of the criteria the report notes.I would also consider ATX to be a top “quality of life” type of city — oops, have to remember to put on my sunscreen today.I don’t consider ATX to be in the same ball park as many of these cities — though it did score the most VC $$$ of any Texas city. Texas VC environment is dwarfed by NYC and SV. It is tiny as this blog post notes.http://themusingsofthebigre…It is a shame that NYC LIC did not close the Amazon deal. It would have been a major shot in the arm.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. joahspearman

      I agree that Austin isn’t in the same ballpark in terms of VC money, but as a founder who’s raised $5m here (all without VCs), I do think Austin is in a similar league to these larger cities in terms of where tech companies and founders want to be. Several of the tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Oracle, Google, IBM, etc already have massive offices here, and companies ranging from Dell and Silicon Labs to Bumble and HomeAway have originated here, not to mention “non-tech” companies like Whole Foods, Tito’s Vodka, etc and one of Fred’s best investments ever: Indeed. Vista Equity is also based here and there’s been a huge influx of larger deals of late.

      1. JLM

        .No argument from me, friend.I’ve been in ATX since the late 1970s. It was 200K population in those days.I used to shop at the first Whole Foods (now the Goodwill on Lamar across from Fresas just north of the WF flagship).I worked with the original funder of what became Austin Ventures about a million years ago.ATX is where people want to be. Austin has been very good to me.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. jason wright

      “no income tax”?

    3. Vasudev Ram

      >Austin, which has the highest rating of a reasonable sized US city, always comes away as the top US business location because of its comparatively low costs, lower state regulation, no income tax, no corporate income tax, lower cost of living, lower RE costs — the typical business environment criteria and part of the criteria the report notes.Wow, that’s a lot of plus points. How’s the weather there? I’ve never been to Texas. Know that in general it’s hotter than some other US states, being to the south. An Indian friend who was in Plano for long on work, said its weather is like Mumbai.

      1. JamesHRH

        Weather is a plus, but humid and hot in summer.

        1. Carmina

          Everyone ought to have a healthy earning potential together with a good office . But what we get , lengthy job hours and bosses very long complaints and also rewards which are absolutely not seriously worth . It is a time for fix , change the method you decide to work . How about a web-based job opportunity which gives you liberty and also time freedom , you are able to Devote more time with your family and friends together with earning. There are actually plain requirements , function on a daily basis for small number of hours constantly , be your own boss , and get paid nearly $16000 each week . This may seem fictitious ! well, it is not , it is an amazing chance to raise your earnings , and fulfill all your aspirations . What are you waiting for , Go and check it out>>>

    4. Adam Sher

      My go to for high level research is JLL.I found they report more frequently than the other big shops. Also, I know more people there so I can call their research team. For in depth research, I borrow a CoStar account and then clean the data. Almost all of the industry’s research is garbage in – rotten garbage out. REIS used to be the worst offender.

  12. joahspearman

    Nice to see Austin in the top 10 and the smallest metro by population on the entire list other than Copenhagen.

  13. Dan

    “In the mid 90s, I doubt NYC would have been a top ten city on this list. And now it is number one.” <- staying on top is hard, and this line makes me think about which cities are not in the top 10 above, but will be in 20 years. My money would be on Shenzhen or Shanghai making a leap.

    1. awaldstein

      I have two tech clients in Bangkok, and certainly in the crypto space, this is a huge and growing center as well. Huge amounts of talent there.Expats from everywhere as well.

  14. John Fazzolari

    The “tech environment” including founder ecosystem and angel investors willing to put the first check in is where NYC struggles the most vs SF. Interesting because other than that and the weather most founders would likely rather live in NYC. City buzz and wellness isn’t even comparable not that you will get to enjoy much of that when you are starting out.