Jonathan Oringer, 39, has become the first billionaire of Silicon Alley, according to Bloomberg.
Silicon Alley — for those new to the clubby terminology of tech journalism — refers to the New York City tech community as a whole.
Oringer is the founder and majority owner of Shutterstock, a photo-licensing and sales website. Lucky for us, Oringer claims he’s “never been very flashy or high-profile.” He holds a masters degree in computer science from Columbia, and founded Shutterstock in 2003, uploading 30,000 of his own pictures; the company now has 750,000 customers and over 18 million images. 2012 revenues increased 41% to $169.6 million, and one analyst told Bloomberg that, “When you compare it to the recent tech IPO’s, it’s one of the few that has a proven track record of profitability.”
Oringer isn’t just one of those “petri dish” tech billionaires still trying to lead his company to profitability, in other words. He estimates the market for digital imagery will reach $6 billion in 2016, and currently competes with iStockphoto Inc. and Fotolia LLC. Slate Magazine questioned whether Michael Bloomberg himself could be considered the first Silicon Alley billionaire– considering his Manhattan financial terminal and data empire — although apparently the term is limited to company’s founded after the late ’90s.
Analysts are also positing that the bullish market for Silicon Alley tech — including the recent Tumblr acquisition for $1.1 billion — could mean leveling out the regional battle for VC dominance. Currently, Silicon Valley sees about 40% of VC funding, which is twice the amount of New York and New England combined.
Scott Belsky — who sold his creative-networking startup Behance to Adobe for $150 million — once asserted that NYC founders are more ‘grounded’ then their Californian counterparts. Of course, it’s easy for Oringer to say he’s not flashy — the real test will be whether or not he chooses to upgrade to a gold-plated helicopter (he’s an avid flight fan).