Today, we speak with Eben Upton, Executive Director, Raspberry Pi Foundation, which developed the credit card sized device that turns a television into a simple computer. And all for $35.00! Upton’s tenacity in developing the Raspberry Pi since 2006 has made computing available to the masses at a rock bottom price. Upton was recently named a 2013 New York Venture Fellow by the NYCEDC.
What is your take on the current scene in New York today?
Incredibly vibrant, and with an interesting bias towards hardware innovation. Both the local ecosystem and funding environment make it seem like a better place to get a hardware startup off the ground than the West Coast.
What do you see happening over the next 3-5 years?
Hopefully a greater awareness of NYC as a place to do high-tech business. A continued shift in the center of gravity from the West Coast.
What do you see as challenges?
The high cost of living, not necessarily compared to the Bay Area or London, but certainly compared to other upcoming areas, may place NYC-based tech businesses at a disadvantage in the war for talent. Also, there’s still an entrenched view elsewhere in the world that the US tech industry == Silicon Valley.
Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?
In the short term, Raspberry Pi provides a low-cost platform which other companies can use as a basis for building commercial multimedia and industrial control platforms. This is a surprise to us: we thought we were just building an educational computer, but in fact we’ve ended up undermining a lot of the scale advantages which have historically favored incumbents in these sectors.
In the medium to long term of course we hope that our educational efforts will improve the supply of fresh talent into the ecosystem in NYC and elsewhere.
Read what other thought leaders are saying in the “Pulse of the Alley”.