Ideas and money falling out of pockets on Sand Hill Road

The Great Silicon Valley Startup Debate

9.7.17




There's a lot of debate in this episode and it's all warranted and it's all around where you start your company and how much that matters.

When Automated Insights sought its Series A VC raise, we were offered a big check almost immediately, funding for years, provided we move our company out west. Robbie had a young family, I had a young family, it was pretty much off the table.

We got to our Series A, but it took much longer and was much more work than even we, conservative as we were, could have imagined. We didn't raise VC money locally, but we couldn't have gotten there without the support of the organizations and individuals around us for introductions, advice, and help with business development.

We wound up giving back to our community in different ways. Robbie turned to angel investing, and is involved with a number of local early startups. I hated writing checks, so I do this, and I did ExitEvent, and I advise and/or mentor anywhere from four to six local early startups at any given time.

A startup community is important, no doubt, but questions have to be asked and I think we ask most of them in this episode. How valuable is the local community? Does it need a physical, locational definition? What about digital communities (that's a big one for us)? What is support and what is just noise? Does everyone outside of the Valley need to be customer first?

All these tricky questions get argued in one fashion or another, but one thing we all agree on is we're tired of people telling us we need to stop trying to be like Silicon Valley. We aren't. We don't know anyone who's pushing that theme. Silicon Valley is an anomaly, a happy accident, forged by money and good timing more than economic development and proactive shaping.

So dig into this episode, there's a lot to chew on. And let us know how we're doing on these topics -- share, comment, tweet, etc.


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