Startup Grind
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Startup Grind

Why I started in San Diego and moved my startup to Silicon Valley.

The tail of the lion or head to the fox?

Which one are you? Which one would you prefer to be? If you are moving your startup to San Diego, the answer is obvious. Building a startup in San Diego is nothing but cheap rent and a good surf life. It’s a great place for the “safe” entrepreneurs, the ones who avoid taking the risk. And here’s the question: how can you not take risks when your startup is in the early stages of its existence?

From San Diego to San Francisco

I am currently in the middle of moving my startup from San Diego to San Francisco. I have no doubt that I’m doing the right thing. I can’t wait to enjoy cocktail dinners with interesting people.

Here are my facts about San Diego

Social:

  • the after office scene — nothing special
  • night life — even worst (especially if you are over 30).

Investors & people:

  • investors — not too many
  • interesting people to meet — looks like I wasn’t lucky enough to meet them
  • money — old

Misc:

  • taxes — we’re still in California
  • developers — it’s not an easy task to find them here
  • and don’t let companies like Qualcomm fool you — when your company becomes Qualcomm, you can come to San Diego and start your own culture

“Moving (SF-> SD) can instantly increase your runway” — Let me disagree on this one.

Come on, you don’t move to decrease your expenses, you do it to be closer to your market and then you sell, sell, sell. In my case, the target customers are in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. If all you need is a computer, why don’t you move to Mexico or Thailand?

When someone reminds me that this is the 8th biggest city in the United States, I ask myself: but how? Why?

Yes, as an entrepreneur it’s easier to start in San Diego. Everything is cheaper, especially the rent. You can pay $2,100 for a beautiful large 1BR that’s right on the beach, with all the perks. In San Francisco or Silicon Valley, you find nothing of that. Not even a studio with a bunch of homeless people downstairs.

What is really critical?

It’s amazing that when you hustle with everything you got, the rent price becomes so critical. But here is what’s really critical: who you meet and if your startup grew at the end of the month.

No More SouthWest

How many seed funds and active angel investor are up north? Way more than in San Diego! Because of that, I started flying every 2nd week to Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The cost of the flights made me want to reconsider paying a higher rent and just live in San Francisco.

There are few active early stage investors and no leaders, just tagalongs

That sounds a bit cruel, I admit, but San Diego has 2 main venture funds and none of them “like” the early stage seed investments. This makes it extremely hard to raise money there. I self-funded my startup for 7 months and reached $0.5M traction, something I considered a decent result, something worth looking into.

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