Today, David Dietz, founder of sustainable fashion tech startup Modavanti, shares his views on where the tech industry is – and where he sees it going – in New York.
What is your take on the current scene in New York today?
The New York startup scene is definitely starting to thrive, especially in fashion. The city has always attracted ambitious young people, but historically, these were not entrepreneurs as much as they were artists, performers, writers etc. That’s changing rapidly, and it makes sense, given the wide array of talent already here. For example, as a fashion startup we’ve been incredibly blessed to have access to the great fashion schools, not to mention the many designers who fit our sustainability profile.
I see no reason why the city won’t continue to attract startups. New York is a wonderful place to live: the energy and the dynamism are an obvious match for the sort of personality that is crazy enough to want to start their own business! Now that there is an established level of talent here, it should hopefully turn into a virtuous circle and keep attracting more entrepreneurs, more developers, etc. And, of course, there is certainly access to plenty of capital.
What do you see as challenges?
The city is expensive, both on a personal level and on a business level. Trying to keep costs down at the early stages of a startup is imperative, and keeping taxes and other regulatory costs low for early-stage startups would help encourage even more young companies to move to the city. It can also be challenging to convince developers — who are in demand and can work from just about anywhere — to move to a high-cost, high-tax city.
Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?
Since Modavanti is a fashion tech startup, New York always made sense as a destination for us. As an online marketplace for high-end sustainable fashion, going out West was also a possibility, especially given the fact that many brands from California and the Pacific Northwest are leading the way in the sustainable fashion movement. However, New York is underrated in this respect. There are many fantastic sustainable fashion brands like Allison Parris, Afia and others that we are working with, located right here in New York. Plus, being the city allows us to tap into the resources of the incredible fashion community as a whole, while also attracting the sort of talent that a fashion retailer needs: graphic designers, marketers, programmers etc. We would have had a very hard time getting to where we are had we gone anywhere else. It’s great to see so many east coast brands and fashion houses joining the sustainable fashion movement and we hope and believe that this trend will continue.
Read more on what top entrepreneurs are saying in the “Pulse of the Alley”.