Business Insider published a great interview with Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson, touching on a number of compelling topics including the state of New York’s tech scene. Here’s what Wilson had to say:
I feel like the percentage of investments that we make in New York, out of the total that we make every year, has come down, and that we’re making more investments in other places like Europe, Silicon Valley, Waterloo, Toronto (Kik is in Waterloo and Wattpad is in Toronto). …
I think a couple things are happening in New York. I think that there are a bunch of companies that have been around for a while in New York. Tumblr is an example of that. Foursquare is an example of that…These are not new stories and haven’t been new stories in a long time.
Wilson and Union Square Ventures are probably the most recognizable NYC-based investors so his comments on the firm’s view on NY is important. Using CB Insights Investor Analytics heatmap tool, we analyzed whether USV was indeed doing fewer deals (new and follow-on) in NY in favor of startups in other aforementioned markets.
The data below.
Union Square Ventures 2008-2010 Investments By Geography
The heat map below shows Union Square Ventures’ deal activity within the US in the three-year span from 2008 to 2010. While the firm did close a number of notable – and ultimately lucrative – deals to California-based firms (Twitter and Zynga), 60% of USV’s deals over the period went to NY-based companies including early-stage investments to Foursquare, Shapeways, Kickstarter and Stack Exchange.
Union Square Ventures 2011-2013 Investments By Geography
The geographic heat map shifts significantly when we look at USV’s investment activity over the past three years. Interestingly, California’s share of USV deals has actually remained largely the same (29% in 2008-10 vs. 30% in 2011-13). USV’s NY deal share over the period fell to 48% (from 60%). What has jumped is the firm’s deal activity outside of the California and NY markets as you can see below. Deals include Iowa-based Dwolla, Pennsylvania-based Duolingo and Duck Duck Go and Kansas-based C2FO to name a few.
USV’s non-U.S. deals have also jumped between the two time periods as Wilson suggested in his interview rising from 6% of USV’s overall deal activity in 2008-2010 to 12% between 2011 and 2013. Some of USV’s international investments over the last three years include The Football App (Germany), Wattpad (Ontario) and Funding Circle (UK).
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