new tech city
As Mayor Bloomberg nears the mile marker for his exit, the rest of the city is starting to chatter about what we’re supposed to do now. In December, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released a report asking what the tech boom has done for New York’s working class. But the suits are getting in on the act, too: Today the Partnership for NYC released the NYC Jobs Blueprint, a report chock full of recs for the next mayor.
Most relevant to the tech biz: The Partnership Fund, the organization’s investment arm, is willing to pony up $20 million for an urban tech campus providing “flexible, affordable live-work spaces for the next generation of young professionals.”
The engineers of the future will never get to leave their desks!
The Manufacturing Maven
When 3D-printing startup Shapeways held a ribbon-cutting for its new “factory of the future” last month, more pols were in attendance than at a Hurricane Sandy press conference: Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Empire State Development Corporation President Ken Adams all made the trip to the cavernous building that will house 50 3D printers, churning out as many as 5 million products every year.
Meet Your Maker
This morning, Betabeat ventured forth to the industrial environs of Long Island City for a ribbon-cutting at what’s being billed as the “factory of the future.”
Naturally, quite a few tech scene regulars were in attendance, like New York City Economic Development Corporation president Seth Pinsky. But, by and large, it was mayor Michael Bloomberg’s show–that, and of course Shapeways, the company that’ll soon be 3D printing user-generated designs right were we were standing.
“There are plenty of good reasons we want New York City to be the epicenter of the industry, something, folks, that the factory and the research lab here at Shapeways will help make possible,” he told us, before adding, for anyone missing the point: ”This is the future of our city.”
How does Google stay dynamic? It’s all about the acquisitions. [The Verge]
Speak of the devil: Google just purchased Instagram challenger Snapseed. [PC Mag]
The Winklevoss twins are giving this social network thing another go, investing in SumZero, ConnectU cofounder Divya Narendra’s new site for investors. We can only assume developers are being vetted very carefully. [Wall Street Journal]
The ludicrous looking Ostrich Pillow is now on Kickstarter. How long before this is yet another standard-issue startup perk? [TNW]
An Iraqi American plans to found a hackerspace in Baghdad, because he is way more hardcore than you. [Wired]
Long Island City is being overrun with “artisanal food businesses and tech start-ups.” [New York Daily News]
Apparently 34 percent of people have used their iPad naked. Naughty! [VentureBeat]
Meet Your Maker
Shapeways, the Etsy of 3D printing, which moved to New York in after an investment from Union Square Ventures, is poised to open a “factory of the future“ in Long Island City. Fresh off a $6.2 millon fundraising round led by Lux Captial, the company is eager to share some impressive new numbers.
Today, the company told Betabeat that Shapeways’ marketplace now offers “6 billion product variations.” Or, as they clarified, “one unique product for everyone on the planet.” To put that in perspective, Walmart only offers about 120,000 unique items in their stores. Suck it, big box bores.
Shapeways also shared this handy infographic with Betabeat, which sadly arrived by one-dimensional email:
Today Time Warner Cable announced that the company expects to invest $25 million to expand its fiber optic network in both “established and emerging” business sectors around New York City. Many of the areas highlighted in today’s announcement happen to coincide with burgeoning tech hubs.
In a press release to Betabeat, Time Warner said it would extend its broadband capabilities in “the World Trade Center, the Flatiron District, all areas of Midtown and throughout the Financial District,” in Manhattan. In addition to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Time Warner is also upgrading fiber in the “Brooklyn Tech Triangle, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Industry City.” Long Island City in Queens, the future home to Shapeways 3D-printing factory, will also benefit from the effort.
Can a subway line that sidesteps Union Square be the backbone of New York’s burgeoning tech scene? Crain’s New York Business thinks so, calling the F train a “powerful drawing card,” worthy of moniker, “Silicon Subway.”
Kings of Queens
Hot on the heels of launching the borough’s own tech meetup and the announcement of new tech classes launching in the fall, the Daily News reports that the Coalition for Queens is partnering with a Long Island City packaging company in an attempt to create a new tech incubator.
All that talk of Brooklyn must’ve lit a fire under someone.
Meet Your Maker
Reinventing design and manufacturing for the 3D-printing age sounds more capital-intensive than your run-of-the-mill social networking app. Thus to fund its growth, Shapeways, a Dutch company now headquartered in New York, just announced $6.2 million in financing led by Lux Capital, which the company says is an add-on to the $5.1 million series B round raised from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures last November.
Lux Capital doesn’t typically fund consumer-facing startups. According to its website, the Madison Avenue venture capital firm has been more concerned with cancer therapies and petroleum replacements, which is a vote of confidence in Shapeways’ potential. ”We seek investment opportunities to help turn technical breakthroughs into world-changing businesses,” Lux cofounder Josh Wolfe said on the company’s blog.
Imagine the Internet is a vast hotel. (It probably looks a lot like the impossible hotel in The Shining, with hallways to nowhere and windows where they shouldn’t be.) You’re a guest in this Internet Hotel for the evening; you’ve just arrived from New York on the red-eye and you’re exhausted. You need something to pep you up – perhaps some music. But you’re too tired, disoriented and indecisive to pick, so you head for the concierge. “Excuse me, you look like you know your way around. Can you please just tell me what I should listen to right now?”
Songza, the Long Island City-based streaming music startup featured at Facebook’s f8 developer conference in September, has been building a massive database of playlists across genres and for a range of occasions. The site has more than 100,000 searchable playlists, from “Aggressive Dubstep” to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” submitted by msuic experts and users. But if you’re not sure if you want to hear something funky or something fresh, Songza’s new Music Concierge feature can do that for you.