Ahead of his guest appearance at Morning Startup this Wednesday, Andrew Outhwaite takes us through the USA beyond San Francisco and why to consider visiting other cities, ecosystems, and ways in to them.
Another post on the United States? Yes! It has the world’s top-ranked startup ecosystems for funding and talent, it’s language and culture are accessible for Australians, and it’s an enormous market. For those reasons many of us glean insights from US or look to it as our pathway to a big exit.
Not really. Think of the US as being like Europe or Africa: each state as independent with their own culture and economy. The population is also differently distributed: Perth would be the United States 5th largest city, but there are around 125 cities with a population of more than 200,000 spread evenly across the country. Cities within States also differ: Austin and San Antonio are adjacent in Texas but one is a conservative ‘military city’ while the other’s motto is ‘Keep Austin weird’.
Why look beyond Silicon Valley?
Because it doesn’t exist. It’s not a suburb or a place, you can’t find it on a map, so what are you looking for? Capital, talent, access to markets, mentors, university partnerships, manufacturing expertise, industry clusters are all present in other locations.
While the Bay Area has a phenomenal combination of mindset, talent density, capital intensity and for enterprise sales and marketing, it’s also definitively competitive and arguably overheated. So relax, focus on what you need and want, and let your obsession with Mountain View loosen.
I recommend you do your own research or seek advice from your friendly incubator, public servant or networks: AusTrade, Entrepreneurs Program, WA Trade Offices, US Consulate, University Alumni offices, accelerator programs all have some interest or role in making international connections. Ask them.
And, a final thought, also consider the rest of the world for potential expansion or where to look for lessons: Nigeria and Indonesia have the equivalent of the US population, Mongolia is not so different from the WA economy and the Scandinavians are so smart with ‘expanding to Sweden’ having such a nice ring to it : )