Facebook investor Accel looks east with New York office

union square new yorkAccel Partners, the venture firm best known for backing Facebook, just announced that it’s opening an office in New York City.

It’s an unusual move, said Accel partner Rich Wong. While East Coast firms have opened offices in Silicon Valley, we haven’t really seen Valley firms moving in the other direction. The new office is an acknowledgment of how the New York startup scene has grown. And it also reflects the fact that 15 of Accel’s portfolio companies are already in the New York area: Quidsi, Etsy, Squarespace, Learnvest, Glam, Global Grind, Bauble Bar, Birchbox, Loosecubes, Salescrunch, Bonobos, Collective, VenMo, and Exclusively.In.

This doesn’t mean Accel is hiring any partners or that any of its existing partners are relocating. Partner Theresia Gouw Ranzetta said that, with the firm’s existing investments, not a week goes by without someone from Accel visiting the city. And Jim Breyer, another Accel partner who’s leading the New York initiative with Ranzetta, has homes in both the San Francisco Bay Area and Manhattan. The New York office gives visiting partners a place to work, hold meetings, and host events.

Accel’s new office will be in the Union Square neighborhood of Manhattan — making it neighbors with, yes, Union Square Ventures, the famous New York firm that was an early investor in Twitter. When I asked if Accel wants to become more competitive with New York firms, Ranzetta said, “We partner pretty closely with all of those guys, we have a strong relationship.”

Accel also has offices in Palo Alto, Bangalore, Beijing, London, New Delhi, and Shanghai. The New York office will be making investments from both Accel’s early-stage and later-stage investment funds.

[image via Flickr/Swaminathan]