Silicon Valley Expats

It’s still very much a thing to come out to the SF / Bay Area / Silicon Valley and boot up that new idea into a real startup, raise some venture capital, and then head off into the sunset (or to the moon).

But, the power dynamics have changed a bit as well as the entrepreneur’s optionality when it comes to geography… or maybe they’ve always been this way.

I thought this tweet from @roybahat was funny enough to share with a few of my startup buddies:

Startup geography:

2009: Founder moves to SF at request of VC from whom they just raised.

2019: Founder lives in SF and raises VC, then leaves.

What makes this so funny is that my cofounders at my previous startup actually did just that; we raised more than $16M in venture capital and then Jeff, my cofounder and CEO, moved to Austin, TX., where it is distinctly cheaper to build a company (and arguably a better lifestyle and place to raise kids… but, what do I know).

And so far it’s really working out quite well.

As accessibility to capital grows and as other geographies continue to level themselves up with Silicon Valley expats, the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem worldwide grows and everyone is a direct beneficiary to it.

In fact, Bahat’s comments about exporting capital and talent out of Silicon Valley may be interpreted viscerally (and immediately) as a bad thing but I don’t think that’s really what’s happening; I take an opposite opinion of the matter.

I still believe that being physically here, in Silicon Valley, will always present some opportunities for distinct competitive advantage and as I get closer to completing my fourth year here in SF I believe this truth more ever – the “lift” you can experience here is unlike anything and there is a richness of knowledge and wisdom that you can’t buy or acquire anywhere else.

And you’d be foolish to discount that, among many other natural advantages that being here provides.

Sure, it’s expensive af (and that’s not even the worst thing) but it has provided me an opportunity to do something that I’ve always wanted to do and for that I am deeply grateful.