Mid-year update from the Mayor’s Office of Tech and Innovation

By Minerva Tantoco, Chief Technology Officer

Mayor de Blasio is driving a three-part tech strategy to reach his goal of making New York City the most tech-friendly and innovative city in the world: talent, access, and innovation. By committing to this goal, the de Blasio administration is creating a more inclusive and equitable tech ecosystem for us all.

Through initiatives like Broadband for All, Computer Science for All, the expansion of innovation hubs for startups and entrepreneurs, and continuing to tap into the most diverse pool of tech talent in the world, 2016 is off to a groundbreaking start.

First, some great news about NYC’s growth as a tech community:

Tech Sector Job Growth

● Number of 18–29 year old New Yorkers working in tech increased from 13,300 to 16,600 from 2000–2014.

● New Yorkers aged 18–29 who work in tech make more than 50 percent above average for all young workers.

● Tech companies led by local entrepreneurs directly employ 53,000 people, over 1% of New York City’s workforce.

● The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. Yet U.S. universities are expected to produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 30% of these jobs.

Tech Sector Capital Growth

● Venture funding for tech companies in New York City increased by 240% from 2003 to 2013, and more than 85% of the sector’s current companies and 86% of its current jobs were created during this time.

● Between 2003 and 2013, the New York City tech sector grew twice as fast as Silicon Valley’s in terms of dollars invested, with its companies raising more than $3.1 billion in funding in 2013.

● New York is ranked #4 in the world for cities with the most venture capital investment, with $2.1 billion.

● New York accounts for 5% of global venture capital investment.

Some highlights of NYC’s tech strategy so far in 2016:


● Delivering quality talent for the city’s businesses and quality jobs for New Yorkers, the Tech Talent Pipeline(TTP), rolled out an Academic Council with 15 NYC higher education institutions to align tech curriculums to industry needs. TTP also launched a data analyst training program with General Assembly and a Web Development Fellowship for foreign-born New Yorkers delivered by the Flatiron School and funded by Robin Hood Foundation. Interested employers are invited to join TTP partners in reviewing tech candidates, informing curriculum, and delivering quality talent in the months ahead.

● 207 schools have signed on to offer new computer science programming for the 2016–17 school year through Computer Science for All (CS4ALL).

● With the Mayor’s Fund and Center for Youth Employment, we helped to recruit tech companies for Ladders for Leaders and secured 50+ internship placements from 18 organizations.

● In a shared commitment to global entrepreneurship and innovation- the NYCEDC Global Business Exchange — is in full swing with Paris. Applications for Milan are now open! Learn more about this great opportunity and apply before July 15.

UrbanTech NYC launched as a comprehensive program to help entrepreneurs and innovators address New York City’s most pressing urban challenges in sectors such as energy, waste, transportation, agriculture and water. New Lab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Grand Central Tech are set to open this summer and will provide approximately 100,000 square feet of flexible and affordable space for fast-growing clean-tech and smart city companies, as well as access to prototyping and testing equipment, local training programs, mentorship and support.


● The City, led by DoITT, launched the first LinkNYC kiosks in February. The Link kiosks provide New Yorkers with free Wi-Fi at speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, as well as free phone calls, charging stations, and a built-in tablet to browse the web or access government services.

● The Office of Digital Strategy released the Digital Playbook as a plan for City government to use digital technology to increase equity and help all New Yorkers participate in the political, civic, and cultural life of the city.

● April marked the 1-year anniversary of our first Call for Innovations on Broadband which has inspired a slew of interest from other agencies for support on this innovative model. Additional broadband efforts include $70 million in new broadband infrastructure investments by 2025, of which almost half will be spent in the next 2–3 years.

● We are partnering with CUNY institutions to include data from John Jay College and Queens College on the Open Data Portal, with a goal to engage all CUNY schools this year

● The Center for Economic Opportunity celebrated Service Design Day on June 1st by affirming our commitment to this important discipline and highlighting how we are continuing to embed the practice within our government. Our goal for service design is simple: we aim to make public services as effective and accessible as possible for New Yorkers. We will be creating a Service Design Guidebook and Toolkit and establishing a Service Design Group.

● Millions of New Yorkers will be able to benefit from lower cost internet thanks to modernization of the federal Lifeline program. The Mayor led cities in advocating for the changes at the Federal Communications Commission and sponsored a supportive resolution from the US Conference of Mayors.


● At Data Jam, the first-ever City-hosted event for National Day of Civic Hacking, NYC Parks unveiled NYC’s most spatially accurate map of New York City’s street trees ever created and hosted a day-long civic engagement event in partnership with BetaNYC. The event drew nearly 200 participants to help transform the data into actionable insights via a workshop and Data Jam with 5 NYC Parks challenges.

● After a year of compiling best practices across multiple stakeholders, officially released the beta set of Guidelines for the Internet of Things making New York City the first city to have comprehensive guidelines of this kind. Read more here.

● The Department of Transportation’s Traffic Signal Prioritization pilot has reduced transit bus delays by nearly 20% since its introduction and is now expanding to all five boroughs.

● The Office of Digital Strategy released a new prototype version of nyc.gov called Alpha which uses a human-centered design approach to make the most commonly sought information more visible (i.e. IDNYC, parking tickets, etc.)

● We wrapped up the beta phase of neighborhoods.nyc in February. To date, 40 community groups have applied to license neighborhood domains.

The International Innovators Initiative (IN2NYC) launched to help international entrepreneurs relocate or expand their businesses to New York City by enabling entrepreneurs to qualify for cap-exempt H-1B visas. To date, more than 100 applications have been started by entrepreneurs across the globe. Learn more and apply here.

Over the last few months city agencies have participated in nearly three dozen citywide tech events and hackathons promoting the growth and diversity of NYC’s tech ecosystem, STEM education initiatives, smart and equitable city, and innovation and entrepreneurs in NYC, including:

○ CSNYC Computer Science Fair

○ Bronx Science Hackathon

○ TechCrunch Disrupt

○ Black Girls Code

○ NASA’s Space Apps

○ Zahn Center for Innovation’s Demo Day

○ Alley Reveal Ribbon Cutting

○ Screening of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

○ Shark Tank Casting Call

○ NYCHA Tech Up Ribbon Cutting

○ NYU Tandon Women’s Summit

○ Google Women Techmakers

○ Society of Foreign Consuls

○ Smart Mobility Summit

○ Samsung Solve for Tomorrow

○ Propeller Festival

○ Techonomy

○ Ascend NY IGA Conference

○ Avasant Conference

○ Diversity in Tech Awards by C/I

○ Pipeline Angels Members Reception

○ March Scout Day at Silicon City Exhibit

Have an idea or thought to share? Contact us at cto@cto.nyc.gov, we’re here for you!

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