At a private dinner Wednesday at New York’s swanky Le Pavillon, New York City Mayor Eric Adams called on tech executives to keep their companies in the city, even as industry leaders raise concerns to city officials of soaring rents and an increase in violent crime.
Over entrees of steak, halibut or pasta and copious amounts of wine, Adams made an “impassioned plea for tech executives to stay and invest in New York,” said one attendee. He told the more than two dozen tech leaders: “New York City needs and wants technology companies,” another attendee said, adding that city officials want tech companies to “help grow the economy of this city.”
Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy confirmed the mayor spoke to the tech executives, but said, “Mayor Adams wasn’t there for dinner.”
“While we don’t discuss private conversations, Mayor Adams always welcomes and encourages businesses to come to NYC,” Levy said in an email. “During his remarks, he spoke about the importance of tech to NYC and government innovation.”
The select group of diners felt “incredibility impressed with his accessibility and understanding of their industry” one of the attendees said. The people who described the dinner declined to be named in order to speak about a private event.
Adams’ bid to encourage tech leaders and companies to stay in New York comes as City Hall officials have privately fielded complaints from tech leaders about skyrocketing rents and surging crime rates.
Median asking rents on active listings throughout much of Manhattan and Brooklyn jumped 40% or more in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, according to Bloomberg. The NYC Rent Guidelines Board recently voted to increase rent for those who live in a rent-stabilized apartment, NBC New York reported.
New York City’s crime statistics have also been in flux since the start of July when shooting incidents across the city rose from the prior year, the city said last month.
However, shootings in August dropped by about 30% from the same month last year, according to city crime statistics. But there was a year-over-year jump in other crimes over the same period, including burglaries, robberies and grand larceny.
Longtime angel investor Ron Conway co-hosted the event with Josh Mendelsohn, a managing partner of tech-focused investment firm Hangar, Mike Ference, a fellow partner at Hangar, and Julie Samuels, the founder of New York tech advocacy group Tech:NYC, according to a list of hosts and attendees provided to CNBC.
Famed chef Chef Daniel Boulud, who runs the company that owns Le Pavillon, stopped by to chat, according to attendees.
“It was a nice way for [Adams] to meet tech CEOs.” Conway said in an interview, noting that it’s important for tech leaders and companies to be civically engaged. Mendelsohn, Ference and Samuels did not return requests for comment. Representatives for all the other people listed as attending the dinner either declined to comment or did not return a request for comment.
Those who attended the dinner could also be of help to Adams when he’s up for reelection in 2025. City campaign finance records shows Adams has raised just over $850,000 for his 2025 reelection campaign.
Alan Patricof, co-founder of the venture capital firm Greycroft, and Conway are among the attendees to the dinner that have been prolific political fundraisers. Both helped raise at least $100,000 for President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign for the White House, according to the nonpartisan OpenSecrets.
Partial list of dinner attendees:
Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft
Ron Conway, founder of SV Angel
Julie Samuels, founder of Tech:NYC
Josh Mendelsohn, managing partner at Hangar
Mike Ference, partner at Hangar
Josh Vlasto, former chief of staff to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Hangar advisor
Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, Warby Parker co-CEOs
Mario Schlosser, Oscar Health co-founder
Valerie Jarrett, former advisor to Barack Obama and Lyft board member
Steve McDermid, managing director at Emerson Collective
Michael Zuckert, general counsel at Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group