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I don't yet know enough about the single founder bit, but there is one unrelated sentence that you write that gives me great pause in the way you chose to write it:

"But, if you want to do something big in the tech sector, you absolutely must be in SV for the connections, money, talent, etc."

Really? You "absolutely must" be in SV? Seems like Groupon, Foursquare, Groupme, Bitly, Grubhub, Gawker, Gilt, Kickstarter, Amazon, Tumblr etc etc etc are doing just fine not in SV.

Great companies can be started in many places. A critical mass is helpful, as is money. You can get money from anywhere. I'm from Pittsburgh. A company there (Dynamics) just raised a $35 million series B. They are doing great on "connections, money, talent, etc" in Pittsburgh. Several of your YC batchmates will leave SV for other places. They will be just fine on all those things too. You might not have been fine in NC, but there are many places you would be able to raise money, find talent, etc. We ended up rejecting some VC's that wanted us to be in Cali but ended up with terms we liked from investors we like. (We're in Chicago) I have occasionally given thought to going back to SF/SV but for our business there wouldn't be any impact other than we'd have to pay higher salaries and rent.

OP here. Ok, yes that statement was a little bit extreme on my part, but I think it is still 95% true. Startup location is another one of those holy-war topics, but if you want to learn by immersion, SV is the place to do it. There are certainly valid reasons for locating a company outside of SV, but for first-timers like myself trying to build my network of peers, professionals, mentors, friends, VCs, etc, it feels like this is the center of the universe (for better or for worse).

Of course companies can be built elsewhere. People with one leg can finish marathons. That doesn't mean it isn't sub-optimal.

Startups are pretty dicey. I don't know what a founder's chances are, but I'm pretty sure that they are better in the Valley. Depending on your market, your personal network, etc., they might not be THAT much better... But it's pretty hard to argue that, on average, the Valley doesn't help your chances in StartupLand.

Sure, if you want to examine companies over 15 years (as in your list) you can find companies with big VC in many different geographic locations. That doesn't chance the fact that most such companies are in the valley. I find the idea that you should be in the valley if you want big VC relatively straightforward and uncontroversial.


Sidebar: Of course, if you're going to go for a different type of startup than YC's particular brand, you can do it from anywhere (central Japan, for instance). The article refers to such startups as a "lifestyle businesses". I find this terminology hilarious considering the most prominent example of a "lifestyle business" in our field has funded a racecar build by advanced beings for one of its founders.

You said "most," the article said "Absolutely must." Also apart from Amazon, all of the companies on that list were funded in the last couple of years, so your 15 year span is sort of ridiculous.

"you should be in the valley if you want big VC relatively straightforward and uncontroversial."

The guy just gave you scores of examples of companies not in the valley that raised big VC - controversy

To be fair, for every startup you can namedrop who isn't in CA/SF/SV, I think someone can probably name two who are.

not sure about the others, but Groupon opened offices in SV . . .

They now have a pretty small Palo Alto office (<100 people) and over 3,000 in Chicago. I don't actually think it's that relevant as they started and got huge (Google wanted to buy them for $6Bn huge) without the presence in SV

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