At a private dinner Wednesday at New York’s swanky Le Pavillon, New York City Mayor Eric Adams urged tech leaders to keep their businesses in the city, even as industry leaders raise concerns with city officials about rising rents and a rise in violent crime.
Over steak, halibut, or pasta appetizers and plenty of wine, Adams made a “passionate plea for tech leaders to stay in New York and invest,” said one attendee. He told the more than two dozen tech leaders, “New York City needs and wants tech companies,” said another attendee, She added that city officials want tech companies “to help grow this city’s economy.”
Adams spokesman Fabien Levy confirmed the mayor had spoken to the technical executives, but said, “Mayor Adams wasn’t there for dinner.”
“While we don’t have private conversations, Mayor Adams always welcomes and encourages businesses to come to NYC,” Levy said in an email. “During his speech, he spoke about the importance of technology to NYC and government innovation.”
The select group of guests were “incredibly impressed with his accessibility and understanding of their industry,” said one of the attendees. The people describing the dinner declined to be identified as speaking about a private event.
Adam’s offer to encourage tech leaders and businesses to stay in New York comes as City Hall officials have privately filed complaints from tech leaders about skyrocketing rents and rising crime rates.
According to Bloomberg, average asking rents for active listings in much of Manhattan and Brooklyn rose 40% or more in the second quarter compared to the year-ago period. The NYC Rent Guidelines Board recently voted to increase the rent for those living in a rent-stabilized apartment, NBC New York reported.
New York City’s crime statistics have also been in flux since early July, when shootings across the city increased from a year earlier, the city said last month.
However, shootings in August were down about 30% from the same month last year, according to the city’s crime statistics. But there has been a year-on-year increase in other crimes over the same period, including burglaries, robberies and grand larceny.
Longtime angel investor Ron Conway moderated the event along with Josh Mendelsohn, a managing partner at technology-focused investment firm Hangar, Mike Ference, a co-partner at Hangar, and Julie Samuels, founder of New York tech advocacy group Tech:NYC. according to a list of hosts and participants provided to CNBC.
Famed 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] meeting technology CEOs,” Conway said in an interview, noting that it is important for technology leaders and companies to engage in civic engagement. Mendelsohn, Ference and Samuels did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives of all other individuals listed as attending the dinner declined to comment or did not respond to a request for comment.
Those who attended the dinner could also help Adams with his re-election in 2025. Records of city campaign funding show that Adams raised just over $850,000 for his 2025 re-election campaign.
Alan Patricof, co-founder of venture capital firm Greycroft, and Conway are among those who attended the dinner, which was a productive political fundraiser. Both helped raise at least $100,000 for President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign for the White House, according to the bipartisan 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, Co-CEOs of Warby Parker
Mario Schlosser, co-founder of Oscar Health
Valerie Jarrett, former adviser to Barack Obama and Lyft board member
Steve McDermid, CEO of Emerson Collective
Michael Zuckert, General Counsel at Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group