PINOY TECH STARTUPS THRIVING IN NEW YORK

By Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau

NEW YORK CITY – Tech startups are getting a boost from the city of New York after
Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a program that celebrates over 900 New York-based startups.

“We are Made in NY” helps people find jobs, launch a new tech company and it provides affordable work spaces — all with the full support of the city government.

“Thanks in part to steps that our administration has taken to help companies grow and attract talents, I think it’s fair to say there’s simply no other better place than New York City to build a digital business,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

Ray Madronio is the founder and CEO of localbigwig.com, an online platform for booking temporary housing and extended stay hotels.

His is one of those startups created and developed in New York.

“We’re aggregating all of the professional providers around the world who operate professional accommodations that happen to have a 30 day minimum booking,” Madronio said.

With a small team of 7, this Filipino’s startup company was created with nominal capital investment.

“So it’s a boot strap, I threw in some money in there, my angel investor put almost 100K into the pot,” Madronio said, “Now, I’m proud to say we have the most extended stay listing compared to any other websites out there.”

To accomplish that list, Madronio says his priority was to network and increase their listings of temporary housing and extended stay providers.

“And telling them what the concept of localbigwig is about, which is a hotel.com for extended stay rentals. I tell them– give me your inventory and I’ll help you get global exposure and more bookings from people coming in to your city,” Madronio said.

Aside from the support given by the city government, Madronio added that tech startups like his are thriving in New York because consumers are growing more comfortable transacting online.

In localbigwig for example, the average purchase is about $15,000 per booking.

“The CEO of American express said, people are getting more comfortable with booking flights, hotels, rental cars by themselves online,” Madronio said, “People don’t necessarily turn to brokers or travel agencies anymore.”

The digital age has changed the business landscape and Madronio said entrepreneurs like him are constantly challenged to catch up or even raise the game if they want to lead.

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