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Tech-Driven Companies Choosing Long Island City For Startups

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It isn't quite Silicon Valley, but local insiders say technology is trending for businesses coming to Long Island City. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.

Chocolate, any way you want it.

Chocomize.com, an e-commerce company based in Long Island City, offers more than 100 possible ingredients on its website.

Founders say that's more than 300 million possible combinations to help you develop something sweet, salty or both.

"We came up with this idea to build this creation station where people can really choose from basically unlimited options and kind of create a really fun and personal chocolate bar for themselves or their loved ones," said Fabian Kaempfer, co-founder of Chocomize.

The startup began four years ago, recently moving out of New Jersey and into Long Island City. The people behind Chocomize say that they were primarily attracted to the growing number of like-minded entrepreneurs in the neighborhood.

"A very incubator kind of space for tech companies and startups," said Leyda Hernandez, director of marketing and communications for Chocomize. "So it's a very good place to be. I think in three years' time, I think this area is going to look completely different."

Officials with the Queens Economic Development Corporation say she's right. They say that technology-driven companies are on the rise among new businesses coming to Long Island City.

"It's a lot cheaper. It's probably a third to a half as expensive to open up a shop here than it is in Manhattan," said Rob Mackay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. "And also, we happen to be very close to Manhattan."

There's more to it than that, according to one of the founders of Digital Natives. The agency on 46th Avenue helps businesses with brand development, using smartphone applications, websites and social media.

"One thing that I really like about Long Island City, that there is a sense of people still making things," said Vladimir Lackovic, a partner with Digital Natives. "There's this connection between all the technology businesses, but also the manufacturing and creativity that's here."

Tech insiders say that unlike other competitive neighborhoods like Manhattan and Williamsburg, with prices low and the mood generous, now is the time to bank on Long Island City for your startup.

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