The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How important is it for startups to be in Silicon Valley?” is written by Craig Morantz, CEO of Kira Talent.
Most entrepreneurs think Silicon Valley is the best place to get a startup off the ground because it has great resources—networks of entrepreneurs, investors, and like-minded dreamers who believe anything is possible. Plus, it’s easy to find employees there who have experience solving tough business problems (not to mention some of the best hipster coffee joints in the country).
While all of these things are vital to starting a successful company, they’re not unique to Silicon Valley. There are plenty of other cities in North America—and across the world for that matter—that offer a community of resources for less. One of the biggest obstacles to launching a company in the Valley is the cost. Everyone knows the area is outrageously expensive—often $1,000 per month to rent just one room in a house located in a bad neighborhood and $200,000 a year to hire a mid-level developer. These prices aren’t feasible for most startups.
What you get from building a startup in another city is a better sense of reality, plus a more affordable workforce, office space, and housing. Most other cities have a diverse culture, which will allow you to build a stronger team that comes from different backgrounds and has diverse ideas to bring to the table. Kira Talent launched in Toronto less than five years ago and we’ve grown exponentially. Because of our location, we’ve been able to create an extremely diverse and affordable team. I attribute a huge portion of our success to our employees, and I’m confident we wouldn’t have had the same pool of talent in the Valley.
Despite what most think, networking and investment opportunities aren’t exclusive to Silicon Valley. We’ve had no issues finding investors to back our company—we’ve had several rounds of very successful funding, raising more than $3 million. There are great opportunities to network, build relationships, and attract investors anywhere. You don’t need to be in the Valley.
Perhaps the biggest myth, though, is that other cities don’t have that “big dreamer” attitude quite like Silicon Valley does. I whole-heartedly disagree with that statement. Toronto and many other cities have amazing startup cultures with a vibe that’s infectious. When you meet and talk to the hundreds of entrepreneurs who are in Toronto, it’s impossible not to roll up your sleeves and embark on the rewarding journey of launching a startup. I honestly don’t think we would have had the same success had we launched in Silicon Valley. We have some pretty cool hipster-coffee hangouts in Toronto, too.
Read all responses to the Entrepreneur Insider question: How important is it for startups to be in Silicon Valley?
The One Thing More Important Than Being in Silicon Valley by Mollie Spilman, chief revenue officer at Criteo.
The Biggest Downside of Moving to Silicon Valley by Allison Berliner, founder and CEO of Cataluv.
What Virgin Mobile’s Cofounder Wants You to Know About Silicon Valley by Amol Sarva, cofoundera of Virgin Mobile USA and developer of East of East.
The Silicon Valley Myth: Proof Your Startup Can Thrive Elsewhere by Fayez Mohamood, cofounder and CEO of Bluecore.