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Ask HN: Best city for your startup?
8 points by bavidar 1794 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments
Where is the place for your HQ? Where will I get the best resources, talent? Without having to incur to much cost.

I think that depends on a lot of factors. Some programmers are willing and able to work remotely. If you have no ambition to become really huge, some people will find a place off the beaten path to be an asset rather than a liability.

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.

I decided to move my company, Banyan, to Chattanooga Tennessee. I know that may sound radical, but Chattanooga has a thriving startup scene. It reminds me alot of Austin, before Austin blew up. I personally feel like its about to explode here, and Im lucky enough to have gotten here at the right time.

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.

After checking out The Gig City site, I noticed that your company won last year's GigTank. It seems like a great opportunity, and I will probably apply as a student. What advice would you give me (in terms of if I were to get accepted)?

Thanks for the kind words. Applying as a student is a great idea. I know the director of the student program & I would be happy to connect you. Drop me a line over email and I will help any way I can.

i helped run the student program last year, so i have a unique perspective...

- 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

I was just in Chattanooga last month. Ugh. Would have loved to stop by and visit.

We (and I) need to do a better job getting the word out! Any chance you're coming back? I work out of Lamp post group & I would love to introduce you and any other hackers to the group of startups we have working here.

I was there visiting some family. Which I will visit next summer. Will make sure to make the trip to Chattanooga again. Beautiful place full of very friendly folks. Best cup of hot chocolate I ever drank came from there. I'd be happy to meet the group of entrepreneurs from that area. May you send me an email? (in profile).

Ah, you must be talking about the [http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/109/1625196/restaurant/Hot-Choco... chocolatier). That place is amazing. I will definitely drop you line!

How did you know it was that place? Wow. I still dream with drinking another cup. Wonderful stuff.

Also checkout http://www.lamppostgroup.com/ to see some of the cool things that are going on around town

I moved from Atlanta (used to visit Chattanooga once a week to visit Gf in ringgold. Moved to palo alto. Couldn't disagree more. Bay Area is incomparable.

When was the last time you were here? What startups did you meet with? Im not comparing Chattanooga to the valley by any means. I compared it to Austin, which is also very different then the valley.

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 definitely agree that Palo Alto is a completely different world than Chattanooga, but equivalently, Ringold GA is a different planet than Chattanooga.

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.

my startup was funded in Chattanooga 18 months ago... I can confirm all of this..

The one you're in now. Or someplace cheaper. The Internet is everywhere, and if you're starting an Internet company, you don't need to be anywhere physically in particular.

I'd be careful with this statement. The quality (bandwidth, latency, MTBF) of Internet connectivity varies greatly from place to place.

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.

True but the biggest problem I experience is the supply for good talent. In some cities it is hard to find good programmers. Not every city is desired to be lived in so it has to be a balance.

Lets say you have a smaller pool of talent locally but potentially you may have less demand on that existing pool.

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

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