Lightbank, a venture capital company started by Groupon, has designated New York as their first office outside of Chicago. The office will be headed by Lightbank principal Vicki Levine and located in the flatiron district. New York was chosen because of the interest in investing in Series A rounds of East Coast start ups concerning ecommerce, as well as health and media. Also, it will be able to better serve the NYC start ups it has already invested in.
The big question that arose was why NYC instead of the Silicon Valley? In an interview with VentureBeat, Levine listed plenty of reasons: “The type of companies and the type of entrepreneurs we find in New York resonates well with what we’ve seen in Chicago …. We looked at where the Postportfolio was going, as well as larger investments, and NYC sat very well.”
Levine also explained to VentureBeat her interest in several close industries in NYC, including fashion, advertising, and media. “The industries, partnerships, and users are all in New York,” she said. It seems as if Lightbank may be trying to sneak into NYC’s young start up and technology scene. It was reported by betabeat that twenty percent of the firm’s portfolio is already in New York City startups, including OnSwipe, Contently, Centzy, Bevel, and Ovuline.
“New York won’t be the Valley, it’ll be something different,” Levine told venturebeat. “When you think about the comparisons, New York doesn’t want to be the Valley. All the ingredients are there to make it a crazy tech epicenter on its own.”
Founded in 2010, Lightbank has invested in more than 50 start ups to date. In addition the company, which was founded by Groupon cofounders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, has raised more than $1.5 billion and generated over $7 billion in equity value in that time. Together with its founders, it has also founded nine companies.