Silicon Alley is not just an empty phrase - part 2

By October 04, 2007

Here are four portraits of New York entrepreneurs and their companies. Sure, you could start a company about anywhere in this online world. But they think that New York is just the place for them. Charlie O’Donnell, Path 101. Af

ter working as a venture capitalist and the director of consumer products at Oddcast, O’Donnell decided to strike out on his own. He identified a need to help students chose their career. “You won’t connect with your future boss on Facebook and it is too early for LinkedIn,” he says. Scheduled to debut in early 2008, Path 101 will aim to attract students with tools to help them explore different careers and assess their own interests. “People in New York are very creative. Because they did not necessarily grow up in high-tech, they are not married to some specific software. In the Silicon Valley, everybody is so tech-savvy that they are working on problems that only affect them and six friends,” believes O’Donnell. Larry Allen, Tacoda. The company’s behavioral targeting ad network reaches over 120 million people. It has helped clients such as Snapple, FAO Schwarz, Panasonic and Macy’s drive traffic to their sites. “We built our business with the biggest media companies supporting us to sell inventory. If we were not in a hotbed of advertising, we would not have succeeded,” states Larry Allen, senior VP of marketing and business development at Tacoda. “Our industry is growing fast and quickly bleeding into traditional advertising,” says Allen. Advertising Week, which took New York by storm at the end of September, is the “meeting of the minds” for both traditional and online advertising. The presence of the Internet Advertising Bureau and local interactive ad club 212 is the year-long manifestation of New York’s importance in that field. Alex Torrenegra, Voice123. Voice123 is an online marketplace for voice talents and the businesses looking for a voice. At Voice123, they call the producers, film makers, game developers, phone system providers who use their services “voice seekers”. Started in Alex Torrenegra and Tania Isabel Zapata’s tiny apartment in Queens, the company is now headquartered in the NYSIA’s incubator. “Like Expedia which has taken out travel agents, we want to do the same thing in the voice over business,” explains Torrenegra in his small office as he takes a break from a video conference call with the rest of his team in Columbia. In the voice business, New York is the place to be. Jeffrey Warren, Vestal Design. Warren and his design consulting firm Vestal Design just moved to New York from Lima, Peru. Most of his clients are in the Silicon Valley. “It doesn’t matter where you are. We use online collaboration software like Basecamp and I visit them about every six months,” says Warren. After a few weeks in New York, he has become a regular at Cooper Bricolage, a coworking group that gathers in a coffee shop in the East Village, the former hangout of the Beats, the Yippies and other artists. For $15 a day or $200 a month, freelance workers and young entrepreneurs come to work there to break the isolation and make contacts. Isabelle Boucq, in New York - for Atelier   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at

Legal mentions © L’Atelier BNP Paribas