How Being Outside of Silicon Valley Can Benefit Your Startup
The Entrepreneur Insiders 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 Hari Ravichandran, founder and CEO of Endurance International.
It’s no secret that Silicon Valley is the hub for developing disruptive technologies. The companies based there are often at the forefront of changing how people use and interact with technology. While most of us are pondering what the next technological advancements will look like in the next five to 10 years, the companies in Silicon Valley are hard at work putting those ideas into action. But I see Silicon Valley as more of a state of mind than a destination.
I believe that while it’s important to keep tabs on the ideas and trends coming out of the Silicon Valley area, basing your business there is not a necessity, nor it is a surefire method for success. Having lived in Silicon Valley myself before founding Endurance International Group’s (EIGI) headquarters in Boston, I know that the area offers many opportunities, but also several challenges when it comes to building a startup.
One of the biggest issues that burgeoning startups should consider is whether they have the resources to build in Silicon Valley. It’s an expensive area, and you need to be sure that you’re generating enough revenue to stay there. You don’t want to spend most of your capital on operating costs when you’re still trying to scale your business.
Additionally, I found that because the area attracts the best talent, you end up spending most of your time trying to figure out how to offer competitive benefits packages to match those of larger companies with more resources at their disposal. But it’s often a fruitless endeavor, as a startup usually can’t compete with the kinds of benefits and perks a company like Google (GOOG) or Apple (AAPL) can offer.
It’s for these reasons I decided to build up Endurance in the Boston area after leaving Silicon Valley. Boston offers a highly intellectual hub with Harvard, MIT, and other top schools calling the area home. Many other tech startups have launched here over the years, making the city especially friendly to entrepreneurs and skilled talent. I realized that as long as I could stay funded and had the resources, the area would suit my needs.
Boston has been a great location for my business, but I still firmly believe in staying plugged into what’s coming out of Silicon Valley. I often attend industry conferences and events where other leading startups and tech companies gather to hear about the latest disruptive technologies being developed. Those types of events help to inspire me, and I often come back from a two or three-day conference with many great new ideas.
That’s why I also encourage our engineers and product development employees to attend conferences and events in Silicon Valley. Discovering what else is out there can help encourage creative thinking and break people out of their insulated surroundings.
Silicon Valley may be a melting pot of talent and new ways of thinking, but startups shouldn’t limit themselves to staying there to find success. There are tech hub cities springing up around the country, like Austin and Fort Collins, Colo., many of which offer attractive resources and talent pools. Stay tuned in to the disruptive thinking that makes Silicon Valley tick, but don’t let your startup be limited by its location.