The biggest disadvantage currently for startuping up in Austin as opposted to Silicon Valley verneri? Hard to say. Let me give you three:
1. Us vs. Them
3. Investor experience
In all my time in Silicon Valley, never was it a place. It was never “us” and there. Silicon Valley is more philosophical than literal, it wasn’t the location in which we worked, it was the economy of innovation. It was never considered nor discussed that companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, Samsung, and Siemens weren’t just as much a part of Silicon Valley as Google, Oracle, and HP.
It might be a hard concept to grasp by people on the outside looking in, after all, of course Google, Oracle, HP, Facebook, Apple, etc. are “IN” Silicon Valley. My point is more obvious when considered from the perspective of someone NOT there. This very topic even reinforces my point. Elsewhere tends to think “us” vs. There.
Consider the implication. Investors are most prolific and active in “Silicon Valley” — forget where it’s located geographically. Subconsciously, Silicon Valley is wherein investors find innovative technology capable of repeated, substantial returns.
What happens when a place is intentional about saying, “we’re not that and don’t want to be.”
It’s not a question of being right nor wrong; merely one of the most significant differences.
Distinguishing a difference means justifying why that’s the case.
That’s particularly challenging when our perceptions are wrong. It’s EASY to get connected with Silicon Valley based advisors and investors when one walks the walk (so to speak). People not there tend to perceive that investors want you there, if you can even get coffee with them.
In my experience, it’s the most collaboratively competitive economies in the world. It may feel stand-offish; because it’s expensive and people are playing a competitive and expensive game.
As such, investors too are collaboratively competitive. You see it in deal terms and networking. Investors don’t waste your time. They don’t waste theirs. VCs are there to provide for the economy the resources it needs to thrive, and those investors demand a return. They know how that works, they set the expectations, and they are involved such that those expectations are set and can be met. That’s not to say they aren’t involved elsewhere, rather that their expectations are understood because of THEIR experience.
The source of their capital is known, their portfolios are fairly transparent and publicly discussed, and VCs are publicly present. All of that means that we understand their needs and expectations, enabling us to DISCOUNT advice that doesn’t apply and embrace that which supports our objectives — making it easier to find a match in funding.