March 2018 Newsletter: New York's (Good!) Budget Is in the Books; What's Next for Tech?

This is the March 2018 edition of the Tech:NYC newsletter. If you're not already getting this in your inbox, sign up now.

You might have seen the news that the state finalized its 2019 budget. I don’t know about you, but it actually came up with my family over the weekend as we celebrated Passover (a true season of miracles — we got out of Egypt and we funded the state for another year!). The last week of March is always a mad dash to get the budget done ahead of the April 1st deadline, and this year was no exception.

The budget is making lots of news for important provisions around tax policy, public housing, and school aid, but it is also a really good budget for tech in New York State. It shows a real commitment to growing the next generation of technology companies — and jobs — here in New York. Making those jobs accessible to all New Yorkers requires access to computer science education, and the increased funding for that in this budget is an important step forward.

  • Funding for CS Education: New York has dedicated $6 million to expand high-quality computer science education by offering teacher support and resources in computer science and technology.
  • Autonomous Vehicles: Despite an old law that requires drivers to have a hand on the wheel at all times, the state will be able to continue testing autonomous vehicles for another year.
  • Marketplace Tax: For the second year in a row, the state proposed a tax that would have required internet marketplaces to collect and remit certain sales taxes. The very issue behind whether or not that kind of tax is even constitutional is currently before the Supreme Court; we expect to get more guidance on the best path forward here later this year. We look forward to finding a national, streamlined solution to this issue.
  • Transportation: A $2.75 surcharge will be added on for-hire vehicles and $0.75 will be added for pooled trips for all rides below 96th Street in Manhattan. The revenue will go directly to funding the MTA.

Lawmakers now have until June to finish the rest of the legislative business for 2018, and there’s lots to get done before then, like making it easier for New Yorkers to register to vote and ensuring that companies with innovative business models — like Tesla — have a real chance to compete in New York. To that end, we’ll continue to work with lawmakers in Albany to pass smart laws that support our community. At the same time, we’ll be focusing locally on a city task force on AI, proposals surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace, and how to get our subways running better.

New York works best when we are all at the table, helping craft policies that support our city and state, our companies, and our communities. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get it right, but there’s nowhere we’d rather be doing it.


What We're Up To

Executive Director Julie Samuels sat down with Cheddar a few weeks ago to discuss the New York City tech ecosystem as a whole, including Google’s $2.4 billion purchase of the Chelsea Market building.

tesla brooklyn.jpg

In a new New York Daily News op-ed, we wrote in support of changing New York State law that would let Telsa open more stores here. Currently, New York law only allows Tesla to have five stores because it sells cars directly instead of through dealers. This law needs to change, and soon. As we wrote: “It’s been easier for Tesla founder Elon Musk to launch one of his cars into space than to sell them across New York.”


Our March companies to watch roundup features five female founders building companies that will empower, feed, and entertain us in the future. You’re going to want to know Farmshelf, Le Cinema Club, PowerToFly, Pymetrics, and ScreenPrism (pictured above).

What Our Community Is Up To

Our member Spotify went public this morning in the first-ever direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Mario Schlosser, CEO of Oscar, and Jennifer Hensley, President of Link at Intersection, both made the cut for the new edition of Crain’s New York 40 Under 40.

Bloomberg profiled our member Artsy for making it much easier to buy high-end art and photography online.

Tech:NYC Leadership Council Co-Chair and Warby Parker Co-CEO Neil Blumenthal sat down with Kargo for the Mobilizing Culture podcast to talk about the future of eyewear.

Built In NYC spotlighted five of New York City’s most exciting diversity in tech groups, including Girls Who Code, Out In Tech, and latinoTech.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is leading a new coalition of 12 cities in a pledge to protect net neutrality, showing New York continues to lead the way on this issue.

NYC Tech Community Events

April 9: Grand Central Tech will host the second annual NYC Smart Districts Summit, where community and tech leaders will explore how emerging tech can be leveraged to address pressing district-level challenges. Register here.

April 10: WayUp will host Office Hours, an event where it connects college students with industry experts. They will explore tech and startups through the eyes of young professionals working in non-technical roles at today’s hottest companies, and more. Register here.

April 10: Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator will host its “Entrepreneurs Roundtable 117” event with Rebecca Kaden, General Partner at Union Square Ventures. Register here.

April 24: Voyager, a coworking space for travel startups, will host a “Travel Trailblazers Breakfast” for early stage travel entrepreneurs to expand their networks with other early-stage travel founders over coffee. Register here.

April 26: Our member Stacklist will host panel called Creating New Goods: Product Development Advice for Startups with the founders of Burrow, Eight Sleep, and Dame. Register here.

May 4: New York University will host the final “pitch off” event for its $300k Entrepreneurs Challenge at the NYU Stern School of Business. Join in to see to see which ventures win the grand prizes. Register here.

July 10-11: The eighth annual New York Venture Capital Summit will let you connect with and hear talks from top VCs, including Future\Perfect Ventures’ Jalak Jobanputra, SoGal Ventures’ Elizabeth Galbut, and Salesforce Ventures’ Meredith Finn. Use the code “TECHNYCVIP” for 10% off.

Welcome to Tech:NYC

  • CoverUS: A digital health wallet to get access to affordable, quality health care.
  • Craevotieous: Creator of Pluto, a diversity and inclusion dashboard to improve workplace culture.

  • Eden Health: The platform that works with your company’s current insurance, giving employees easy access to 24/7 digital care, same day in-person care, specialist guidance and referrals, and insurance navigation.

  • Eight: The modern and elegant sleep system for everyday life.

  • Enrise: Propose, discover, and collaborate on projects using tech to empower your community.

  • Extend Enterprises: Enhances the potential of business credit cards by enabling cardholders to safely share their card with employees and freelancers.

  • Founder Institute: Idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program.

  • Gakko: Brings industry professionals together with high school students for mentorship-driven after school and summer courses in technology and music.

  • Iterate: User-friendly research tools that look and feel like your brand.

  • Le Cinema Club: An online cinema that presents one film every Friday, for one week, for free.

  • Moda Operandi: A trusted fashion insider, offering unprecedented access to the runway for this season and next.

  • Republic: An equity crowdfunding platform that lets you raise funds from your community, customers, partners, and retail investors.

  • Roman: A full-stack men's health company, providing online diagnosis and discreet shipping of safe, legal ED medication.

  • SoT: Works to ensure that the products, services, and organizations of today meet the ever-evolving security needs of tomorrow.

  • Stacklist: A community of entrepreneurs sharing their tips, tactics, tools, and tales to help others in the startup community.

  • The Correspondent: Ad-free journalism made possible by members.

Join Us

If you’ve been thinking about joining Tech:NYC as a member, now’s the time. Check out our membership page, and let us know if you have any questions.

Photo credit: State Capitol of New York, Albany after sunset by Shutterstock/Kyle Lee
Photo credit: Tesla models at Tesla dealership in Brooklyn, New York by Shutterstock/Leonard Zhukovsky