The Battle for the Best of New York Tech

Alexis Ohanian, the affable fellow who recently moved to New York to serve as Y Combinator's "ambassador to the East," did not waste any time that Tuesday night before opening the floor to questions. The audience, in turn, did not waste any time asking him pointedly whether Y Combinator was ever going to offer a program that would allow them to stay in New York instead of moving to the Bay Area.

Mr. Ohanian, who worked on a start-up as part of Y Combinator's very first class, in 2005, took the opportunity to make an important point: namely, that the purpose of his job as "ambassador" is not to poach the best start-ups and send them to California, but rather to fortify the New York tech scene.

"There is nothing saying that your start-up has to stay in the Bay Area," Mr. Ohanian told the crowd, with emphasis. "In fact, it'd be great if you come out for three months of education, learn that you hate Palo Alto, and want to come back to New York to make your millions—wonderful, do that. I'm the East Coast ambassador, and I'm trying to encourage as many start-ups as possible to consider that option, to make New York even more awesome."

They may have shut down the Manhattan hospital I was born in, but I'm returning to the city of my birth with a purpose: to make NY a top-of-mind destination for hackers.

As long as they don't come here to join a bank or hedge fund. Hehe.