The Top 5 NYC Tech Sectors to Watch in 2022
2021 was a banner year for NYC tech, with startups here raising massive amounts of money and hitting even bigger valuations.
This year, several key industries won big, including longtime staples like proptech and banking, as well as some surprises like mental health and alternative investments. And with all this fresh money, these startups have some big plans for the new year and beyond.
Wall Street is one of NYC’s most iconic fixtures, and is a main reason why the city has become a mecca for finance and investing. But there’s a new kind of investing percolating here, and it involves more than just buying stocks in publicly traded companies. These days, tech startups are letting just about anybody invest in just about anything — from NFTs to real estate to a lunar meteorite — and they seem to really be hitting their stride.
A flurry of NYC-based alternative investment startups pulled in funding this year amid rapid growth, and they all seem to just be getting started. Just last month, for instance, Masterworks, which lets users buy fractional shares of art by icons like Banksy and Picasso, scored a massive $110 million Series A, following in the footsteps of similar companies like Yieldstreet, Republic, DriveWealth and Rally, which wants to make “everything in the world” a tradable asset. An interesting subset of this industry is sports card trading specifically, which has led to the recent success of startups like Alt and StarStock this year as well.
Banking appears to be the midst of a massive shift. The antiquated ways of traditional brick and mortar banks are becoming a thing of the past, replaced by neo-banks and challenger banks anxious to take on the status quo. And these new guys are pulling in some massive rounds of funding at impressive valuations.
Just last month, N26 raised a $900 million Series E round, bringing valuation to a whopping $9 billion. Meanwhile, Current, which focuses its services in teens and other underbanked groups, tripled its valuation to more than $2 billion in a matter of months after a $220 million Andreessen Horowitz-led raise back in April. Around the same time, corporate card startup Ramp hit unicorn valuation after raising $115 million, reportedly becoming NYC’s fastest growing startup.
It goes without saying that the pandemic has taken a toll on our collective mental health. Depression alone in the United States has tripled in the last year, according to recent studies, and psychologists around the country have reported a noticeable spike in demand for anxiety treatments. To meet this growing need, tech companies have created innovative ways for people to connect with mental healthcare professionals and resources; and a lot of them are based here in New York.
Most recently, Valera Health raised $15 million, joining other rising stars like Grow Therapy, Headway and Happify. Looking ahead, the name of the game in this multi-billion dollar industry seems to be affordability and accessibility, and these companies are working with professionals, insurance companies and employers alike to make that happen.
As more and more shopping gets done online amid the pandemic, the ability to track and maintain relationships with customers has become essential to companies’ success. As such, the customer engagement space has been experiencing some major financial tailwinds this year.
The latest it-girl in this space is Braze, which hit an $8 billion valuation following its Nasdaq debut. The unicorn is also considered to be one of the top tech companies in the country, according to Forbes. Optimove and Permutive also won big recently after each raising $75 million rounds led by Summit Partners and SoftBank, respectively.
NYC’s real estate market has always been crazy, but it was really pushed to its limits amid the pandemic. After a few quiet months the housing market really ramped up, forcing this notoriously tech-averse industry to digitize quickly. As a result, the startups at the forefront of this digitization have experienced a surge in demand — and renewed investor attention to boot.
For instance, Ribbon, which helps users make all-cash offers — a key advantage when buying a home in such a competitive market — got $150 million in September after growing 15x in a matter of months. Meanwhile, Blueground, a platform that helps people find short-term furnished apartment rentals, pulled in $180 million. Other local standouts like June Homes and Localize raised tens of millions of dollars for their unique approaches to the real estate industry.