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 Andrew Filev, founder and CEO of Wrike.
When I first decided to move to the Bay Area to scale my company, I expected the “sunny California” paradise with palm-lined avenues you see in the movies. A month later, I was emptying cold buckets of water from the dehumidifier before bed each night, and shivering in the damp frigidness of a poorly insulated, fog-encapsulated Daly City apartment. It wasn’t St. Petersburg cold, but it wasn’t the California experience I had imagined.
A miserable and gray winter thankfully gave way to a gorgeous spring in a new apartment in Palo Alto, and more importantly, many opportunities for launching Wrike that I’m not sure I would’ve had anywhere else.
The effect of founding a startup in Silicon Valley is similar to attending MIT or Stanford. It’s not a requirement for success in tech, but it helps. My move to the Bay Area has provided some similar and unrivaled advantages that I believe are unique to this community and supported my success.
Like attending an Ivy League university, Silicon Valley gives you a strong network of people who want to help you meet your goals. There are events for founders almost every day, sometimes many at once. From the gym to your children’s school, you never know where you’ll uncover a casual learning opportunity that could help you out down the road.
Aside from professionally networking, the diversity is great for perusing your hobbies. I’m interested in machine learning and artificial intelligence, and I’ve made a lot of friends with other enthusiasts in this field. They may not be directly related to my company, but these friendships give me a glimpse into the future of the industry.
Early exposure to knowledge and ideas
A year or so after I moved to the Valley, I met a guy named Aaron Ross, and he had great ideas on generating leads. We became friends, and he’s now one of our advisors at Wrike. His book, Predictable Revenue, is now considered the bible for the inside sales world.
To me, this exemplifies the kind of magic that can happen in Silicon Valley: There I am, a very young entrepreneur, getting advice from a guy whose ideas are about to revolutionize an industry. In hindsight, it feels like I traveled to Hamburg in 1961 and took music lessons from John Lennon. If you come to the Valley, it’s easy to learn from the abundance of experts in the tech and business world who live and work here.
Rich talent pool
Even though there’s great talent all over, recruiting is a huge challenge for startup founders. When it comes to finding world–class experts at scaling software businesses, the talent in Silicon Valley is hard to beat. People are especially open–minded about making the leap to a startup environment. Convincing someone to move across the country for a new job is very difficult, but convincing someone to add an extra five minutes to his or her commute is much less of a challenge. Steve Jobs called this the “beehive effect,” where the exchange of talent between clustered industries makes them all innovate better. Silicon Valley is a great beehive.
As you can see, I’m a huge fan of life in Silicon Valley. For pre-revenue or pre-funding founders, you should keep in mind that the benefits come with a price. Rent, commercial real estate, and talent are all among the highest in the country, so make sure the return on those premium costs is truly in line with your goals as a founder. That said, it’s been a great decision for my family and my company, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities.
Read all responses to the Entrepreneur Insider question: How important is it for startups to be in Silicon Valley?
What Entrepreneurs Get Wrong About Funding by Linda Darragh, professor of entrepreneurial practice at Northwestern University.
The Key to Launching a Successful Startup by Josh Kaplan, director of properties and ventures at United Entertainment Group.
The Secret to Any Startup’s Success by William Vanderbloemen, founder and CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group.
The One Myth Keeping Entrepreneurs From Success by Craig Morantz, CEO of Kira Talent.
The One Thing That Can Drag Your Company Down by Suneera Madhani, founder and CEO of Fattmerchant.
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.