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Start me up: Tech companies boot up in Greenpoint

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Nassau Avenue warehouse is bringing a bit of the Silicon Valley to Brooklyn’s “Garden Spot.”

Eager engineers and web workers are buzzing around a new communal Greenpoint office space called The Yard, which has already attracted 65 companies and become home to a thriving start-up scene since it opened its doors in November.

Most of the 200 or so tech workers who share space on the building’s third floor traded in their Manhattan offices to move to Brooklyn — and for many of them the commute is the best part of their new abode.

“All of us live in Brooklyn, so what was the point of going into Manhattan?” said Cezary Pietrzak, whose company Wanderfly is launching a personalized travel website this month. “I only have a five minute bike ride or a 15 minute walk, so it’s not a hard commute to work.”

The warehouse boasts tenants including an Internet security firm, scores of web developers, and designers who market online — but it’s also got the casual vibe of a tech start-up.

“It’s so much easier,” said Regine Raab, who designs custom pet accessories including dog beds, leashes and collars for Waggo and used to work in Manhattan. “It’s nice to be in a community with other entrepreneurs — and I can bring my dog to work.”

Greenpoint isn’t the first Brooklyn neighborhood to experience a tech boom.

Some of the city’s largest and best-known web companies, including Etsy and the digital marketing agency Prolific Interactive have planted roots in DUMBO.

And in the past year, Brooklyn’s growing tech scene has helped push the number of venture capital investment deals inked in New York above the number signed in Boston — putting the city in second place in the tech race behind the Silicon Valley and purportedly sparking another East Coast–West Coast rivalry.

The start-up community growing at The Yard is still forming and web workers have been reaching out to businesses in the area to share ideas during monthly “breakfast clubs” and pub crawls — another perk for the neighborhood’s newest entrepreneurs.

“We like the neighborhood because of the concentration of other tech companies here,” said Dean Mekkawy, who is launching the online security service Spotflux. “Plus there’s a beer garden downstairs.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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