It’s a new year – a time when we all turn our focus to what we believe will be the Next Big Thing. In 2014, will it be wearable tech. self-driving vehicles, beacons, 3D printing – of body parts?
One thing is certain: in the past few years, New York has come into its own as one of the tech capitals of the world. We’ve built multi-million dollar businesses. We’ve moved the needle forward. But let’s face it: New York is the city that never sleeps, so whether we’re ringing in a new year or not, for us, it’s just another day, albeit one perhaps topped off with a bit of the bubbly.
Steve Jacobs, Chief Information Officer at Gilt.com, the members-only shopping site that gives insiders instant access to today’s top designer labels at up to 60% off retail is here to fill us in on what’s on the horizon for them in 2014.
Before we take a look forward, tell us about what 2013 was like for your company.
2013 was a great year of execution and innovation for Gilt across all aspects of the business, from improved scale and efficiency in market channels, to new product launches like personalized sales, as well as continued growth in mobile and internationally, to name a few. While some companies pulled away from flash in 2013, we remained entirely focused on that business as our core. For calendar year 2013, Gilt was profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis and the company began generating cash from operations, all while accelerating growth. Additionally, more than 40% of our overall revenue is now generated through mobile devices and we’ll continue to see growth in mobile in the new year.
What do you see happening to the New York startup scene in 2014?
The search for talent will continue in NYC in 2014. Financial service companies will begin looking for ways to compete as well. The startups that succeed will be the ones that can retain and grow their talent in the face of ever-changing opportunities. Those opportunities will be bountiful as the industry continues to figure out new ways of using mobile to reduce friction for consumers and enterprises.
What would you like to see happening in the New York startup scene in 2014?
In 2014, we would love to see even more great engineers, designers and product folks in abundant supply here in the city, and a swell of optimism that the city, state and country are doing all the right things to increase the talent pool. Startups will want to see this happening in order to feel confident about growing a successful company in NYC.
What impact do you think Mayor de Blasio will have on the startup ecosystem?
The tech sector in New York City has created an enormous number of jobs here and I think Mayor de Blasio will continue to see the value in the industry as an important part of the city’s economy and community. Through his transition team, he has started to surround himself with people who understand the tech community and its potential in NY.
Any advice for the new Mayor?
There is a continuing demand for great tech talent today, with demand outstripping supply, and this is an exciting problem for NYC to have. Mayor De Blasio should continue to find ways for increasing the talent pool, whether through innovative high school programs like the Bronx Academy of Software Engineering, or mentorship programs like iMentor, and surround himself with people who have lived tech in NYC as he builds out his administration.
What are the most important strategic objectives for your company in 2014?
To name a few: mobile, international, personalization and continuing to build our engineering team.