By Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH
My background wasn’t originally in digital technology – I studied finance and philosophy in college. After graduating and struggling to find a job in finance, I found a job doing marketing at a startup. I had to learn a lot about the newest digital technology to be able to do my job effectively. After working there for a few months, I decided to build my own startup. That led me to learning how to code.
I taught myself computer programming using online resources like Lynda.com and iTunes University. I built my first company, One Month, in the Edtech space. One Month is an online learning platform where anyone can learn how to code in a month.
The NYC tech startup scene is vibrant and diverse. It’s got people from all sorts of backgrounds and industries coming together, as part of a larger ecosystem that includes media, finance, healthcare, advertising, fashion, and more.
It’s certainly grown a lot over the last 5 years. There are a lot more resources available for you as a startup (like dozens on coworking spaces) and more people are familiar with and comfortable working at startups.
Young entrepreneurs should know that they have their work cut out for them. I had to do a lot of work to build connections and to get in front of the right people, and there was no one shortcut that solved all my problems.
NYC is where my network is. It’s where I know the best talent and people in other industries to help me out. It’s much less homogenous than San Francisco, but it’s still a world-class city that people want to live in. At this point the cost of living is also lower than San Francisco.
NYC has probably become a leader in health-tech because it’s a much bigger city than San Francisco. It’s also got some larger well-known health-tech startups like Oscar, Zocdoc, Flatiron Health, and Talkspace, so that goes a long way in seeding an industry.
The biggest challenge for health-tech is changing a massive industry with large, entrenched companies who are generally threatened by innovation. It’s very hard for a small company to sell into a large one. But the health-tech industry is gigantic, so this is also the biggest opportunity for someone who can figure it out.
Technology has the potential to revolutionize how things are being done in the health-care industry, because almost everything it currently does could be done significantly better, from using state of the art data analytics, to tracking data that they don’t currently have access to, to improving transparency, to increasing agility for larger companies, as well as providing better outcomes for patients.