This week, I’m in Reno, Nevada for VentureBeat’s Blueprint conference, where we’ve gathered more than 300 entrepreneurs, investors, and economic development officials to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing tech companies that have set up shop outside of Silicon Valley.
One of the most common sentiments I’ve heard from panelists and attendees is that while the benefits of building a startup in second- or third-tier markets aren’t always widely touted, these regions offer some powerful advantages over the Bay Area. And interest in exploring lesser-known markets is only growing.
Eventbrite SVP of platform Patrick Poels said that his company’s turnover rate in its Nashville engineering office — which opened in 2014 — is statistically close to zero. For many companies in the Bay Area, the turnover rate is 25 percent.
David Garcia, director of a technology incubator in San Antonio called Geekdom, acknowledges that his city probably won’t produce the next big tech giant. But it’s home to thriving back-end companies that he says build the “plumbing” of the internet — which he sees as a powerful opportunity for the city.
Silicon Valley’s reign may not be over, though the idea was explored in a recent New York Times article, but there are signs that the area doesn’t hold the same allure — especially for recent graduates — as it used to. Tiffany Apczynski, VP of public policy at Zendesk, said that employees are moving from the company’s Madison office to its San Francisco office — but not permanently. Instead, they are taking a sabbatical similar to a “study abroad semester” because they want the experience of living in the Bay Area — without paying exorbitant rent prices for the rest of their life.
As always, thanks for reading, and check out the rest of our content from the Blueprint conference below.
Heartland Tech Reporter
Correction, 3/8 10:20 a.m — Updated with the correct spelling of Patrick Poels’ name and his correct title — Eventbrite’s SVP of Platform.
If you missed the talks at Blueprint, check out this video from Day 2 of the conference
From the Heartland Tech Channel
Venture capitalist Ira Ehrenpreis was an early entrant in the cleantech space, an early investor and board member at Tesla, and is now an early investor in mission-driven heartland tech companies via his firm DBL Partners (Double Bottom Line). Ehrenpreis has made a point of investing in entrepreneurs who are contributing to both their communities […]
Retail giant Walmart now thinks of itself as a tech company — but it’s not putting all its eggs in Silicon Valley. The company announced today that it is opening an emerging technologies office in Dallas, Texas. Thirteen employees have already been hired at the office, and the company expects to hire roughly 32 more […]
GUEST: Living in rural America comes with challenges and benefits. Many see rural areas as offering a more relaxed pace of life, or as the center of the country’s agricultural economy. But rural America can also be a place for entrepreneurial pioneers to test out ideas, and it can provide fertile ground for fast-growing startups. Our […]
Montana’s high-tech businesses want to demonstrate that they can play a meaningful role in growing the state’s economy by offering higher wages than other businesses in the state, adding more jobs, and generating quick revenue growth. That’s according to a report out today from the Montana High TechBusiness Alliance. The organization, with assistance from […]
About a dozen venture capitalists recently took a bus tour through the Midwest, and a funny thing happened: They caught the heartland bug. (via The New York Times)
Five or six years ago, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce launched The Big Five initiative aimed at taking 500 community ideas and reducing them to five that would help guide the city towards a more prosperous future. One of the five goals was to turn Kansas City into America’s most entrepreneurial city. (via Silicon PrairieNews)
New York’s tech scene is growing up. Venture capital investment is ballooning, tech giants like Google have added thousands of jobs in the city, and homegrown startups are beginning to find multi-billion dollar exits. Yes, the city is a long way from fulfilling the tired trope of becoming the “next Silicon Valley.” But New York techies like it that way. (via Bloomberg)
A report released by the National League of Cities last year showed that about two-thirds of cities reported investing in smart city technology — and for good reason. Connected devices and data monitoring technologies can make cities and local governments run more efficiently, improve traffic and gridlock, and even potentially have an impact on decreasing crime. (via Hypepotamus)