You might try making two lists, one which lists things you personally need to thrive and the other which lists things you believe are necessary resources for your business. Then do some digging and see if you can find a place which adequately fits both lists, keeping in mind that some criteria are more make-or-break than others.
Chattanooga has a lot of really awesome things about it, here are a few:
- Booming startup scene with dozens of startups all close together & growing quickly.
- Low cost of living. I pay about 1/4th of what the average cost of an apartment in the valley is, for a beautiful loft located right in Downtown ( I ride my longboard to work everyday)
- Chattanooga was the first city in the northern hemisphere with gigabit ethernet http://www.thegigcity.com/
- Amazing outdoor scene for rock climbing, kayaking, hiking and more
- The local government & the state of tennessee are investing heavily in the tech scene (see gigcity)
- Big & active angel investment scene. We raised money here & in the valley with no problems. The quality & integrity of investors here is also very high.
- A very high quality of designers. Chattanooga is a very hip & art inspired place
- Just an hour and a half from Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Nashville, & other larger cities
- High quality engineers at a low cost w/ great cultural fits for us ( they like whiskey & working hard)
Im working on a few initiatives to bring some more attention to whats going on in Chattanooga over the next few months. I would be happy to answer some questions & would honestly tell anyone who is serious about moving their company somewhere for growth or looking for somewhere to set up shop to really consider coming here.
- number one, just say yes and come - its worth it
- be ready for new people/ challenges/ & tough problems
- prepare to think big & beyond what is possible today
- start making a list of ideas & problems you want to attack (once you're here, find other brilliant people interested)
- reach out to some of the startups here and connect pre-arrival, you'll have the opportunity to meet a ton of great people in town, but having a history to put with a new face is huge
This definitely isnt a place for everyone, but if you love the outdoors, a low cost of living, super fast internet, and other startups with similar interests, Chattanooga is an ideal place.
I think to get a feel for the culture, community, and people who are doing startups here and living in that scene you've got to be around downtown, southside, & northshore really embed yourself
but yes, as twog said, Chatt won't be Palo Alto - but Austin, Boulder... definitely.
Right now, I'm working with a smaller town of 5-6K to convert to a muni telco. Why? Because the ILEC's early '90s era backbone from their CO in town to their NAP 15 miles away is near capacity. And the ILEC will not upgrade it. In practical terms, this means residents can only get 1.5-3 Mb DSL max (first come, first served); it means businesses have difficulty adding even a T-1, let alone Metro Ethernet or other advanced services.
The town has had several economic development opportunities from businesses wanting to locate there pass them by, because of the network issue. They've had enough.
And this is not an uncommon situation.
In places like SF, you have a massive pool of talent, but demand and wages/perks are through the roof so finding talent ends up being a negative ratio.
That said, your first hires should be people who believe in your product, no matter where the pool lies