Heartland Tech Weekly: The benefits to being outside the Bay Area are growing

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.

Anna Hensel
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.

Featured Video

If you missed the talks at Blueprint, check out this video from Day 2 of the conference

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