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‘Every Firm Is Talking About It’: Venture Capital Is Having Its New York Moment

By | Alex Konrad |

In the 1980s, venture capital firm Sequoia set a tone for the tech investing industry with a Silicon Valley-first mantra: if we can’t ride a bicycle to it, we won’t invest. Today, that motto’s playing out a bit differently: on the streets of New York City, over Citi Bike.

And it’s Sequoia, which opted to launch a London office last year but still has no permanent presence in America’s most populous city, that hasn’t caught up to the VC zeitgeist. Everywhere you turn in New York startup circles, you’ll find investors who have either moved in recent months or been hired by West Coast firms looking to plant a flag.

Historically West Coast-based firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Craft Ventures, Greylock, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Redpoint and Threshold Ventures now have check-writing investors living in New York. Others are rumored to be looking – or at least looking the other way, as younger employees stay there for long stretches unofficially.

“I think every firm will have a New York office in the next 18 months,” one partner at a prominent Sand Hill Road firm without such a presence confided (anonymously) in the Midas Touch newsletter this past weekend. “Every single firm is talking about it.”

Planting the flag

For Threshold, formerly known as DFJ Venture, planting roots in New York was a business decision, cofounder Emily Melton says. Six of the firm’s most recent investments were based in New York, while nearly 40% of its Fund III companies maintained an East Coast-based founder, says partner Chirag Chotalia, who raised his hand and moved to Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood in recent months. The firm also hired Megan Kelly, previously of First Round, Thrive Global and J.P. Morgan, as a principal. (Kelly was unavailable for comment, having recently gone on maternity leave.)

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