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Investor sees promise in NYC startup scene

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Filed: Timeline

Mr. Breyer [early Facebook investor ]is turning his attention to New York, where the company is opening a new office at 41 East 11th in downtown Manhattan.


In an interview on Wednesday with DealBook, Mr. Breyer said the pace was definitely picking up for New York’s technology start-up scene, referred to as Silicon Alley.


Q. Why open an office in New York?

A. We believe that social, mobile and commerce applications, where the entrepreneurs are based in New York, are going to be central to what we’re doing.


The entertainment, media and consumer companies we see in New York today are as interesting as any geography in the world. We initiated a partnership in China, in 2004, and have been driving investments with our team there over the last six years. We have a similar view that New York over the next 10 years has tremendous opportunities to build very large-scale Internet businesses.

Q. Is this a sign that Accel will significantly increase its investments in New York?

A. Absolutely. We already have a pipeline of investments that we’re tracking in New York, In some cases, it’s much easier than our China initiative, which I led in 2004 and 2005.

Q. You know, very few people are as bullish on New York, as they are on China.

A. I don’t know if New York evolves over the next decade to that kind of scale ... but I have very strong optimism that in all stages, seed through growth, we have great opportunities to build very defining companies over the next decade here in New York. We’ve invested over $100 million in New York-based companies in the last three years.


Q. What do you think of the talent pool in New York?

A. There’s always been a great talent pool, of course, in the New York area, in these areas. What is different today is ... a generation of entrepreneurs ... are choosing to build their businesses here as opposed to perhaps feeling that they have to move to Silicon Valley.

Q. Do you think more graduates, who may have traditionally gone to Wall Street, are now opting for the start-up world?

A. Given what’s happened on Wall Street, there has been some shift for many students in terms of career pursuits and the kinds of businesses they would like to pursue. It’s too early to tell whether this will be the long-term trend that survives the inevitable bounce back of Wall Street.


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