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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Fostering New York's startup scene

The Rock smells innovation

Steering the TechStars ship

Countdown to success

NY Tech Meetup's shepherd

New York's diverse crowd

Welcome to Gilt

Fashion-inspired technology

The heart of Silicon Alley

Diversity an advantage

Welcome to LittleBits

A tightknit tech community

TechStars NYC is what's known as an accelerator, or a company that takes in startups and nurtures them into more mature businesses. There's high demand to get into this program, which typically choose 12 companies to participate. The acceptance rate is only half of 1 percent.

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Inspirational signs and posters are hung everywhere, giving it a Dot Com-like vibe to the place.

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Alex Iskold is the managing director of TechStars NYC. He's bullish on tech in New York, arguing that it has advantages in the city's diverse population and key industries like finance, media and fashion.

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Once the program begins, the clock counts down from 13 weeks -- the length of the program for the startups. At the end, the companies pitch to potential customers and investors.

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Jessica Lawrence, the executive director of NY Tech Meetup, has helped drive membership growth in the group. It now boasts 45,000 members, or three times its size from just four years ago.

Caption by / Photo by Craig Williston / Qool Foto

NY Tech Meetup has a monthly gathering. July's event was held at a theater at New York University and drew nearly a thousand members.

Caption by / Photo by Craig Williston / Qool Foto

Gilt Groupe is one of the successful tech companies to emerge out of New York. The company raised $50 million earlier this year and may eventually go public.

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New York's various industries offer inspiration for local startups. Gilt is tied into the fashion scene in the city. Gilt CEO Michelle Peluso likes the fact that New York isn't all about tech. "There's a healthy distance," she said.

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Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo for $1 billion in 2013, overlooks Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, where Silicon Alley originated back in the mid-'90s. The term is largely unused now, since the tech scene is spread all over the city.

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Tumblr's creative director, Peter Vidani, also touts the city's diversity as an advantage. But he notes it's a challenge to recruit people from San Francisco. "Once they're here, it's really easy to show them exactly what makes this place so magical."

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LittleBits, which makes do-it-yourself gadgets, is so supportive of New York that it opened up a pop-up store in the city.

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To LittleBits CEO Ayah Bdeir, New York tech is getting more organized.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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