Dumbo Techs Off

As a serial tech entrepreneur, Aaron Shapiro always thought he’d end up in Silicon Valley. But when he became CEO of a digital marketing agency, Shapiro, along with a host of other New York tech-company founders, instead brought Silicon Valley to Dumbo. His company, Huge, and Etsy, the online crafts retailer, may be the two biggest employers in the neighborhood, but the area’s 100 or so other rapidly expanding tech companies, as well as NYU’s Polytechnic Institute incubator, which opened this past January, have created a booming tech industry in Brooklyn, a world away from Silicon’s Sand Hill Road.

Considered a gritty neighborhood just 10 years ago, Dumbo now inspires Shapiro to swear he “can’t imagine starting the company anywhere else.” Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson agrees, having found that running his company out of New York gives it an advantage over West Coast competitors. “We’re in the world capital of other creative industries like media, fashion and advertising,” Dickerson says, “and people tend to live in more diverse communities, with neighbors from all walks of life.” A creative atmosphere if ever there was one.

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