• May 30, 2017

New Data Visualization Shows the Strong Ties Between Boston VCs & NYC Startups

New Data Visualization Shows the Strong Ties Between Boston VCs & NYC Startups

Over the last few weeks we’ve published data visualizations of the venture and tech communities in Boston, Chicago, and New York City. The visualizations were pretty straightforward – tech companies in that city, connected to investors in that city. This enabled us to segment the data and look at the companies/individuals that make up the local innovation economy.

Outside of a few missing companies here and there (we make daily updates based on latest fundings, closings, etc.), one of the biggest bits of feedback we heard from the Boston investor community after launch was, “what about my NYC investments?”

As of now, those relationships don’t appear in the BOS or NYC map since the investment and investor must be in the same city.

In order to display their cross city portfolios we had to create a MASSIVE data set of both the NYC and BOS tech communities. The VentureMap lives here and consists of almost 300 investors, 1,000 companies, and 1,700 relationships. It’s a lot to digest and we only included venture capital firms (cut out angels, angel groups, etc.) to keep it somewhat manageable.

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It looks super impressive, but it doesn’t get into the detail needed to identify why BOS investors were eager to see their NYC investments included.

So we cut the data even more – displayed Boston VCs with their NYC portfolios only, and included any overlap in portfolios.

And there it is.


In the above image you are looking at Boston-based investors (red circles) and their portfolios (a few of them highlighted in red). It’s important to note the organization of the data points – an investor sits in the middle and points outward to its portfolio. You can now visualize portfolio density with connecting mutual investments.

In just glancing at the density of this visualization, you can already tell that BOS VCs invest heavily into NYC companies.

The original BOS and NYC maps left out these relationships, which make up a large portion of investments by these VC firms (remember: investment and investor must be in same city). Our original maps only told half the story.

If you look a little closer, you can see the specific BOS investors with the most NYC-based companies in their portfolio. You can also dig into which BOS investors fund the same companies and how they’re all related (six degrees of Kevin Bacon, if you will).

Mocked Up

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Looking at this specific cut of data you can see how active Spark, Founder Collective, General Catalyst, Flybridge, Bessemer, and Polaris (labeled in light blue) are in NYC. Cut out of this view is Accomplice and Nextview – they’re very active, but have very little overlap with other portfolios.

Outside of their activity in general, what’s most interesting is the link between Founder Collective (yellow star) and everyone else. The red circles identify FC portfolio companies that share another investor. From this view, it’s clear that FC is a powerhouse connector in the NYC tech community. They have the most common links to other investors.

You can also start to trace the Kevin Bacon relationships (six degrees of separation). In the upper left you can trace the relationship (follow the green arrows) from Foursquare to Fiverr (red labels) through Spark Capital, Stack Overflow, Founder Collective, Venmo, General Catalyst, Abacus, and Bessemer.

As a practical use case, if I’m an engineer at Foursquare tackling a problem that Fiverr has already solved, I can find myself an introduction to them through my investor’s portfolio’s investor’s portfolio and so on.

At the end of the day, it’s no surprise that VCs occasionally invest outside of their headquartered city (investor proximity still matters), but it is surprising just how often Boston based investors invest in NYC companies. VCs in Boston are treating NYC like it’s just across the Charles River. A 45 minute flight or three hour Amtrak ride is turning into a normal commute for VCs at FC, Spark, Flybridge, GC, etc. These firms are treating the number two and three cities by deal volume (Pitchbook Q1 ’17) as one East Coast powerhouse.

Start exploring the full New York City and Boston venture tech community map. If you’re a company in Boston or NYC, claim your profile to add a description and make your company stand out from the rest.