The Tech Power 50
The Tech Power 50
Industry insiders will tell you that New York has always been a hub for technological innovation and enterprise, but a string of recent events – a planned Amazon office complex in Queens, Google’s $1 billion expansion in Manhattan, new regulations on the ride-hailing industry – have turned heads from the West Coast to the East Coast, making this the perfect time to release City & State’s first Tech Power 50 list.
Power is a hard thing to define in any field, but being a key player in the tech world is to have the other foot in any number of other worlds – whether that’s finance, health, security or design. Perhaps you coined a pithy expression that is now driving the national debate over maintaining an open internet. Maybe you’re tackling the challenge of directing public policy for New York’s most visible startups. You might be drawing from a wealth of experience to take on the even tougher challenge of correcting gender and race inequities in tech.
We reached out to insiders and experts to compile this list, ranking each person based on their achievements, their business savvy, their interplay with state and federal government, and their sway with powerful politicians. Since we cover elected officials on a day-to-day basis, we limited this list to those who are not strictly in government but instead influence it from the outside.
The next time you hear New York called a tech hub, you’ll know the key power players behind its successes.
1. Fred Wilson
Partner, Union Square Ventures
A venture capital investor since 1987, Wilson is known as an early backer of companies like Twitter, Etsy, Tumbler, Twilio and MongoDB (founded by No. 5 Kevin Ryan). His firm, Union Square Ventures, has raised $1.4 billion and invested in 261 companies since 2004. His wildly popular blog, AVC (“where everyone is welcome and the conversation is civil and lively”) is a frequent online stop for investors, startup founders and anyone who wants to understand New York’s tech ecosystem. Wilson is active on Twitter as well, where he has amassed more than 650,000 followers. He is a co-chairman of Tech:NYC’s board of directors, a position he shares with No. 2 Tim Armstrong.
2. Tim Armstrong
In New York’s tech community, the co-chairman of Tech:NYC (run by No. 9, Julie Samuels) is a mover and a shaker. He’s an investor in betaworks (run by John Borthwick, No. 43) and has made angel investments in several early startups.
3. Jenny Fielding
Managing Director, Techstars
Last year, Fielding pooled her network and expertise with three other entrepreneurs to create The Fund, a New York City-based venture capital fund that now boasts nearly 80 members. A former lawyer who previously worked at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and founded VoIP company Switch-Mobile, Fielding also teaches a class on startups and entrepreneurship at Columbia University.
4. Bradley Tusk
Founder and CEO, Tusk Holdings
Venture capital and political strategy firm Tusk Ventures, which raised $36 million for its first fund and is seeking $70 million for its second fund, says it “protects startups from politics.” Before he became known as “Silicon Valley’s favorite political fixer,” Tusk also worked for then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. He was co-executive director of the New York City Charter Revision Commission under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and went on to manage the former mayor’s re-election campaign.
5. Kevin Ryan
Co-founder and Chairman, AlleyCorp
Ryan is busy outside of the tech industry as well. He is vice chairman of the Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit that invests in businesses and projects designed to spur economic development in New York City. Ryan sat on the Yale University board of trustees from 2012 through 2018 and is a former board member of Human Rights Watch.