Hevesi to VCs: Come to NYC –

NEW YORK – Detroit manufactures automobiles, Silicon Valley produces semiconductors and Wisconsin makes cheese. But what is New York City, the nation’s largest metropolitan area, known for?

“Brainpower,” declared New York City Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi. “What we produce in New York is brainpower, creativity and ingenuity.”

Hevesi spoke at the National Venture Capital Association Annual Meeting, which was held in New York for the first time last month. Addressing the media and NVCA members, Hevesi provided a litany of reasons why venture capital firms and VC-backed companies should make Manhattan their business home.

“We are the center for financial services,” said Hevesi, who added that New York has instituted eight business tax cuts and become a much “smarter and business- friendly” city.

VC activity has picked up in New York in recent years, helping spawn Silicon Alley. According to Hevesi, there were 158 VC-funded companies in the Big Apple in 1998, 305 in ’99 and 469 in 2000. The latter represents a $6 billion business.

New York City manages the third largest pension fund in the U.S., and ranks in the top 10% of pension fund returns, said Hevesi. “We see enormous future in VC investing.”

Hevesi said the New York metropolitan area has experienced some “slipping and sliding” and consumer confidence has dipped, but job growth continues to be strong and his outlook remains robust.

“You should all be living in New York,” he told the audience. “That is a truism and a given.”

Spoken like a true modest New Yorker.