New York will always be a magnet for individuals with unique interests and talent. Energy and ambition permeate the culture and over the past two decades, the internet has been its greatest enabler, empowering its people to connect, build, create, and innovate in ways that were not possible previously.
GC has been active in NYC for ten years, but five years ago, we sensed a shift in the community. It started with a change in values. We could see it at career fairs in the wake of the financial crisis. Students, once drawn into the formal recruiting channels of sales & trading, investment banking, blue chip consulting and general management, were magnetically drawn North of Canal Street and South of 23rd Street. The ideal of “the Facebook generation” was less about purely making money, and more about making.
We saw it in grassroots organizations like the NYTech Meetup, whose membership base grew into the tens of thousands of people from all walks of life, sharing their projects, passions, and products. We saw it in Google’s $1.8B purchase of 111 Eighth Ave, which would soon become the training ground for thousands of NYC engineers, and paved the way for the future local beachheads of Facebook, Spotify, Palantir, and more. We saw it in the strong community of angel investors, accelerators, and venture firms eager to fund the future. We saw it in serial entrepreneurs proudly standing their ground to build their next great companies locally. We saw it in freelancers and entrepreneurs funneling out of coffee shops and into co-working spaces, concentrating creative thinking and fostering collaboration.
Simultaneously, a new wave of underlying software infrastructure pioneered in Boston, Seattle, and Silicon Valley, was just becoming available, democratizing the road to entrepreneurship. As barriers to company formation fell, the opportunities started to blossom to reinvent other local legacy industries and invent new ones.
The unique convergence of artists and hard core quants, together with the opportunity for remixing and reinvention that is only possible in NYC, was difficult to ignore. And it is into this wave of tremendous talent and scale of potential that we partnered with, among others, Neil and Dave at Warby Parker; Chantel at chloe & isabel; Oisin and Umang at Handy; and Mario and Josh at Oscar — exemplary founders of category defining companies.
The more time we spent here, the more we reaffirmed our belief that venture capital is a service business. And, that service is best delivered when we are local to the entrepreneurs, teams, and broader community we support. Just as we entrenched ourselves in Boston and Silicon Valley previously, we started in NY with a crash pad of an office and a few boots on the ground, deepening our local connectivity, dexterity, and investment pace. Companies like ClassPass, Vroom, Outdoor Voices, Cadre, Bustle, Kensho, L2, WayUp, Giphy, and Mark43 are meaningful collaborations with new and old friends from across the venture community. Recently, we invested in B12, a company that was founded by our friend, Nitesh Banta, a former GC investor, and his partner, Adam Marcus. The more we do, the more excited we become to work together with the phenomenal NYC ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders who have welcomed us into their community.
With all this in mind, we further our commitment to NY and the promise of the founder community here. This week, we are thrilled to officially open the doors to our new home at 434 Broadway at Howard in the heart of SoHo. Here, we will rally the founders, thought leaders, emerging talent, and creative visionaries who make New York such a special, one-of-a-kind city.
It is a larger space for us, one in which we will host new and existing initiatives, including: Rough Draft Ventures (RDV), our student founder program; the Enterprise Connection Network (ECN) to forge meaningful commercial relationships between our B2B focused companies and Fortune 500 companies; student hackathons alongside our friends at Major League Hacking (MLH); and locally continuing our GC tradition of hatching companies at the idea stage in our office with exceptional founders seeking long-term, collaborative partners.
GC prides itself on collaboration and our new office was designed with this in mind. Occupying the center of the office is a large table that runs the length of the space. We encourage the GC family, visiting entrepreneurs, and portfolio companies, friends and colleagues to take a seat at the table and experience the dedication, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit that is GC and is NYC. New York, after all, has long been a muse for art and ingenuity. We hope to find inspiration here together with you.
We are grateful to be a part of this amazing entrepreneurial community. The best is yet to come.