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Can you build a great tech firm outside of Silicon Valley?  

Mark Suster makes the point that you can, but it will look different from the company you might have built in the Valley. The article is very american-centric, but worth reading even if you're not US-based. Here's why a company founded outside the Valley will look different:

  1. Funding is different outside the Valley so you will not be able to raise lots of cash quickly and swing for the fences - you'll have to show profits much earlier.
  2. Necessity (of making money) will drive the business: companies outside the Valley have developed many innovative monetisation models, marketplaces, etc.
  3. Recruiting and retention will be easier without the competition of a zillion startup trying to recruit your best people away. However, if you need to grow huge, you won't have large targets like Google and Zinga to dig into.
  4. You'll be able to take advantage of other 'strategic assets' such as fashion, media, art and financial services in New York, government and defence in Washington, etc.
  5. Communities outside the Valley have matured, providing support networks, advice, angel funding, introductions, etc.

Does the same apply in other parts of the world? To some extent. The point that stands out, and which is certainly correct, is that the right way to do startups depends on where you're doing them. Don't try to do a classic "web play" Silicon Valley startup in, say, London. Instead, take advantage of the local differences to build something that Silicon Valley couldn't build even if they had all the funding in the world (which, to an extent, they do).

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