Silicon Valley is no longer large enough to house all the promising technology startups that are being nurtured by entrepreneurs across the United States. The migration of tech startups away from Silicon Valley began in the early 21st century, right at the peak of the Dot-Com Bubble era on Wall Street, when internet companies set up offices in the Boston and New York metropolitan areas. In recent years, new tech firms extended the boundaries of Silicon Valley by moving to San Francisco, but this created a saturation problem that devolved into a very high cost of living.
Scientific and technological innovation does not have to be confined to Silicon Valley; in fact, tech entrepreneurs and venture capital investors are convinced that success can be found in burgeoning metropolitan areas that are home to research centers and skilled workforces. With the right mix of reasonable cost of living and quality of life, tech entrepreneurs are bound to follow. Here are five American cities where this trend is developing:
Salt Lake City
According to a 2016 report published by Inc. magazine, venture capital activity in the Salt Lake City and Ogden metro area of Utah was estimated to have brought 16 deals for a total of $275 million; this works out to an average of $17.2 million per deal. In the Provo and Orem metro area, the average tech startup funding in 2016 was $51.3 million. Salt Lake City and Provo are now locked in a Beehive State battle to attract the biggest tech companies; Provo is home to Novell, but Salt Lake City is home to dozens of biotechnology startups.
This large metropolitan region is sunny, diverse and a major tourist magnet, but its tech scene has somehow flown below the radar for many decades. In the ritzy city of Boca Raton, the first prototype of the IBM Personal Computer (PC) was designed in 1981; about ten years later in nearby Fort Lauderdale, virtual computing giant Citrix opened its first offices while Alienware, the renowned gaming hardware brand, operated from a warehouse in Miami. The South Florida advantage is its strong connection to Latin America and its multicultural workforce.
Financial news giant CNBC often mentions Austin as the best American city for tech entrepreneurs due to its extremely reasonable cost of living. Tech professionals looking for affordable rent payments and cheap insurance quotes should strongly consider moving to Austin, where hundreds of tech firms, many of them dedicated to health sciences, are constantly hiring.
The salaries in this city may not be as enticing as they are in San Francisco, but the quality of life and the low cost of settling down are very attractive. Entrepreneurs who need to hire skilled professionals should take into account that the University of Texas at Austin boasts impressive enrollment and graduation rates.
Although Southern California may not be as affordable as Austin or Salt Lake City, the vast talent pool in this region keeps attracting tech firms, particularly those that are dedicated to video game development, internet security and computer graphics imaging. Los Angeles is also home to many venture capital firms that have connection to Asian investors, which means more opportunities for funding.
The Windy City has always enjoyed solid employment levels in the industrial sector; over the last few years, however, the tech sector has considerably increased its hiring pace because the numerous financial services companies in Chicago are now investing in tech startups. As the headquarters of the Obama Foundation, Chicago is bound to see a lot of tech activity in the near future, particularly in the fields of e-learning and social development.
In the end, tech entrepreneurs should not feel as if moving to Silicon Valley is their only shot at success. The five tech hubs listed herein offer certain advantages over Silicon Valley that should not be ignored.