Last year, after the pandemic hit, New York City’s startup scene went quiet—for about a month. Then it went into overdrive. In 2020, local startup funding broke records. Depending on which report you read, investors injected between $12 billion and $20 billion into area startup companies.
So what’s getting funded in New York these days? Better to ask what isn’t getting funded. Among the rounds that closed in 2020: $47 million for a hair-loss-prevention service, $9 million for a company making human-grade cat food, $6.25 million for a podcast company focusing on romantic comedies and $150,000 for a maker of bathroom-cleaning robots.
And thanks to a big wave of IPOs and acquisitions, local venture capitalists and angel investors are swimming in cash and likely to continue the funding frenzy this year.
So here’s what I’m wondering: How can I get me some of that loot?
I asked industry insiders for tips. The good news: You don’t need to be a tech type, it seems, to impress a New York City VC. While the San Francisco Bay Area startup scene is dominated by nerds, startup founders in New York look a lot like, well, the rest of us. The people who get funding here often are escapees from industries such as finance, real estate, health care and retail.