Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Start Anywhere

Yesterday I wrote a surprisingly long post about creating a viable ecosystem. My intention was to push out something pretty quick and short, but there you have it. I'm passionate about  the issue for some reason.

But you can start anywhere. You can raise money from anywhere, though the likelihood of geting significant funding drops a bit.

As a startup your role is not to build an ecosystem of startups, it's to build your own startup's ecosystem, and while that can be challenging in areas outside of thriving ecosystems, it's not impossible by any means.

It's just different.

  • Your employees might not be as risk-tolerant, but they might be more loyal depending on how you treat them. 
  • You'll likely have unsophisticated investors, meaning they haven't invested in startups before and will need some handholding
  • You'll miss some of the random connections that other startups are able to make just by being in the stream of a great scene like NY or Mountain View. But you also won't be distracted by the hype. 
  • Your local customers really don't care if you've been on Techcrunch or not--they just want your stuff to work well for them. 
  • This Internet thing is going to be big--you can do all of your work from your hometown, including business development meetings by Skype or other video services. 
  • Depending on where you are, salary expectations are a lot lower. 
  • Equity isn't valued as much by employees, but it's your role to educate them on the value of it and make sure they have something so they feel truly aligned with your goals. 
  • Cost of space is a lot lower. 
  • Cost of living is likely lower. In Manhattan, rents start at $1600 for a studio apartment, and $2,000 for a 1-bedroom.  
  • With lower cost of living, you can focus more of your resources on your mission. 
  • Your local network is cheering you on. It takes a few years to really establish a network somewhere else. 
You can make your own breaks in your hometown, certainly. I'd recommend traveling monthly to one of the tech ecosystems and immerse yourself in networking events, and also intentionally setting meetings with people just to get to know them. 

I'm about to get on the train to NY, where I'm opening an office and immersing myself in the scene. I hope that translates to stronger connections between my hometown of Lancaster and NY, but my main goal is to be a part of that ecosystem and get things rolling for my own stuff. 

If you're a Lancaster entrepreneur (or nearby), don't miss our own monthly ecosystem gathering at Startup Lancaster

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