When you’re launching a business the place you choose to do it in can make all the difference. It will affect your access to funding and investors, the cost of running your business and your reach with your target market. Your location also affects how well you can network; you don’t want to be a tech company surrounded by accountants. Ideally your new office will be near like-minded businesses. So you have opportunities to collaborate with and learn from other companies. One of the best-recognized startup communities is Silicon Valley in California. But it’s not the only place in the world to launch a business, and there are lots of other cities on the rise.
Silicon Valley, California
Cities around the world are beginning to emerge as hotspots for startups. But Silicon Valley remains the top place for tech companies to set down their roots. One of the things that make it a great place to launch is the funding potential. The capital raised across all stages of the startup process is 32% higher in Silicon Valley than elsewhere. There’s an excellent support network and, of course, hundreds of other companies to work with. This area is home to the likes of giants such as Facebook and Twitter.
As well as being the perfect breeding ground for new startups, the area isn’t the worst place to be in terms of climate and atmosphere either. Located in the San Francisco Bay area, you won’t be short on culture, beautiful scenery or warm weather. It’s easy to get away from stuffy and traditional businesses. So if you’re a young startup, and particularly a tech company, you’re likely to feel at home in Silicon Valley. Just be aware that you’re up against a lot of competition.
As the capital of England and largest city, London is the country’s hub for startups. Smaller cities are gaining traction, but London remains the dominant force on the startup scene. There are cheaper places to launch a business, and a City of London office will set you back a bit. But other cities don’t have the same level support systems as you’ll find in London. In fact, the support network is vital to the London startup community. Each startup consults three mentors, on average, for advice. Being able to learn from experienced business people from the same and similar industries is a huge benefit. A collaborative mindset makes it easy to work with other startups and established businesses to grow your company.
It’s the most likely place for US startups to establish themselves outside of the States. Although it has far fewer startups than Silicon Valley. London also has great access to the rest of the UK and Europe. So it’s easier to reach other major cities than if you were to set up in a larger country.
Toronto, Canada and Vancouver, Canada
Toronto has a significant startup community, which is the biggest in Canada. Although there are many fewer startups than in Silicon Valley or even London. Despite competing with American cities in the area, such as New York City and Boston, it manages to hold its own on the startup scene. However, there are fears that a lack of funding could lead to disaster. Many startups in Toronto rely on self-funding or money from family and friends. This lack of capital could mean that Toronto startups begin to move elsewhere.
Similarly in Vancouver, startups are high in talent but low on funding. They have produced successful companies such as Flickr. But the lack of funding makes setting up there more difficult than elsewhere. However, they rank high for entrepreneurial skills. And Vancouver is Canada’s second largest startup scene. Startups would clearly be in good company in both Toronto and Vancouver. But anyone thinking about launching there will need to find ways to secure funding.
Sydney is a great place to launch a business as startups do well. It’s difficult to gain attention outside of Australia. But within the country new businesses tend to perform quite well. The most successful startups market their products beyond Australia, often in China and the US. Startups tend to go after small markets and have fewer employees on average. Some big names are beginning to rise out of the Sydney tech scene, but they often have to look outside of Australia for funding.
There are many talented and creative startups in the city. And, despite the struggle for some to get funding, there has been an increase in angel investing. There are also new venture capital funds that are helping startups to grow. Crowdfunding is starting to catch on too, helping startups further. And the government has pledged to invest $350 million in the tech economy.
Berlin has gained comparisons with New York City as a place of startup growth. This blossoming European city has many entrepreneurs who differ from the kind found in Silicon Valley. They have fewer PhDs and smaller target markets. Plus, they’re more likely to do consulting work on the side instead of running their startup full-time. But Berlin’s entrepreneurs are brimming with a strong work ethic and motivation. Berlin is in the early stages of a startup economy when compared with more fully-fledged locations. But it’s growing quickly, with a new startup set up every 20 minutes in the city. The industry is set to produce 100,000 new jobs by 2020. If you work in the tech industry but aren’t looking to launch your own business, Berlin is ideal.
There are many factors to consider when you’re deciding where to launch a startup. Many people may just go to their nearest major city, but there are advantages in considering other places. Even going to a different country could be better than sticking close to home, if your nearest startup scene leaves a lot to be imagined. Funding in particular is a major issue, and it’s ideal if you can find somewhere with high funding but lower competition.