Posted May 16th, 2013
BROOKLYN — Once, there were Carnegies, Rockefellers and Goulds. Now, there is Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Google.
New York City has long been a dreamscape of absurd instant wealth, but while fur has lost its sheen and steel has oxidized, the allure of easy money has yet to fade for the city's next generation of hopefuls. There are ever-growing numbers of these young and ambitious sorts who now seek their riches from behind a computer screen in a sleek converted warehouse in Brooklyn.
"In LA everyone’s got a script — here in New York, everyone’s got a business plan," said Samir Ajmera, who runs NYU Poly's DUMBO Incubator and who keeps his thumb on the pulse of New York's booming start-up scene, the second largest in the country after Silicon Valley.
"There’s been a lot of success, and it's good that that success influences others. But when Instagram gets bought for a billion dollars, they think that’s the lottery ticket they should be betting on."
Legions of basement tinkerers, mad scientists and nerdy avengers may fantasize about an office keg fridge and a buyout from Facebook with unfathomable zeros behind it, but most first-time entrepreneurs have no clue how to file their taxes, much less how to take their business from idea to an IPO, Ajmera said.
"It’s usually 20-somethings who have a good idea and don’t know where to turn," said Brooklyn Law School professor Jonathan Askin, who runs free legal clinics for new start-ups. "There's [legal issues] you can’t expect a small start-up to consider — a lot of them throw up their hands."
Even the savvy can struggle with the day-to-day operations of a growing business. Fortunately for them, Brooklyn's burgeoning tech scene is full of equally creative and ambitious organizations that can help.