NY Outpost – About

Connecting Silicon Alley with Swiss science, education and innovation

Established as a satellite office of swissnex Boston in the heart of Manhattan, the New York Outpost pursues the overall mission of connecting the dots between Switzerland and North America in science, education, and innovation, with a focus on the Greater New York City area.

With the wealth of the experience of swissnex Boston – which pioneered science diplomacy in the early 2000s – the New York Outpost aims at leveraging the multiple dimensions of the fast-growing ecosystem of Silicon Alley to diversify its services to Swiss innovation practitioners on the American East Coast.

Fully integrated in the structure of swissnex Boston, we act as a platform for exchange of knowledge and expertise with an initial focus on technology entrepreneurship and higher education, through our partnership with the ETH Board and CTI, the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation.


The Team

Oliver Haugen
Head, swissnex in New York


Why New York City?

The recent development of the local technology scene has pushed swissnex Boston to expand its activities to the New York area. But what is so unique about the New York innovation ecosystem? A mix of economic and historical reasons have led the city to transition towards a strong innovation economy.

Watch Mayor Bloomberg comment on the emergence of a strong tech industry in New York. His foundation also commissioned a report on the impact of the tech information sector on the economy of the city. (Source: Michael Mandel, “Building a Digital City: the Growth and Impact of New York City’s Tech / Information Sector, September 2013).

digital city



New York’s excellence in education and research

Historically, the greater New York area has been an academic center of excellence with three Ivy League Schools (Columbia, Yale, and Princeton University) within a radius of 75 miles around Manhattan, as well as top ranked universities such as New York University or Rockefeller University. Following the influence that Stanford had on the emergence of the Silicon Valley cluster, the universities of the NYC area have been playing an increasing role in catalyzing inventions and bridging the local scientific and business communities through entrepreneurship programs and tech transfer initiatives. The Cornell Tech campus that will be built in downtown Manhattan (read below) illustrates the prominent role of New York schools in the local innovation economy. The quality of science and academic research in the New York area has also contributed to the development of a strong life sciences cluster in nearby New Jersey, host of many major global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.


Creativity drives innovation

New York has always been among the most innovative cities in the world. Besides the strong financial sector, its economy rests mostly on creativity-driven industries, like advertising, media, fashion, and design. The transition to the digital economy in the early 2000s has revitalized those historically strong sectors and empowered a new generation of entrepreneurs in the fields of digital media, e-commerce, and consumer web, which took advantage of the proximity to industry giants to get started in New York City. The success of the advertising platform DoubleClick (sold to Google in 2007) or the e-commerce website Gilt Groupe has marked the emergence of Silicon Alley heavyweights. Among the more recent success stories: the blogging platform Tumblr and the social media Foursquare.

Additionally, the dominant financial sector has been playing a key role in the emergence of NYC tech scene. Since the computerization of trading in the 1980s, Wall Street has been a driver for innovation in information technology. Among a plethora of accelerator programs and co-working spaces, New York hosts a few incubators only dedicated to start-ups active in the financial services. After the financial crisis of 2008, private and corporate investors in New York turned to angel/seed investments and venture capital as alternatives to market finance. Since 2008, the number of VC deals in New York has increased by 32% – more than anywhere else in the United States. Access to funding is a strong argument for New York in its efforts to lure innovative companies.


Leveraging all of these contributing factors, New York is one of the most cosmopolitan agglomerations in the world. It’s a sample of the world market – and having your product validated by consumers in NYC is a promising step toward going global.


Contact Us:

The New York Outpost operates from WeWork, one of the fastest-growing co-working spaces in the New York area.

New York Outpost, swissnex Boston
WeWork Charging Bull, 25 Broadway
New York, NY 10004

E: NYoutpost@nullswissnexboston.org
T: ++1 646 491 6092

More questions?

Want to inquire about our other programs or have a general question about our activities? Send us an email!