June 23, 2020

Everyone wants to pay you to leave the Bay Area

More localities are rolling out stipends for remote workers. But good luck getting one.

Thinking of moving to greener pastures? A who’s who of overlooked cities will Venmo you a little something something if you pick them.

Over the last year, Topeka, Tulsa, northwestern Alabama, and the entire state of Vermont have lured tech workers with stipends of $5k to $10k.

And now that Big Tech is embracing remote work forever, more communities are tossing their checks into the ring. Last month, Savannah, Georgia announced it will dish out up to $2k for moving expenses to a select class of remote tech workers.

Meet your municipal patrons 

These locations have a few things in common: Many have seen their populations fall, and they’re betting that ponying up a bit of cash will widen their appeal.

The startup MainStreet offers $10k to Bay Area workers who will move into its brick-and-mortar offices in Sacramento or Salt Lake City.

The offers are even going international:  The tiny country of Estonia is handing over ~1.8k digital nomad visas to freelancers and remote workers.

But you’d have better luck getting into Stanford

In its first year, Tulsa Remote — a program offering a $10k stipend — accepted only 1% of its 10k applicants.

One reason: Despite the hype, these remote-work programs remain tiny.

  • Tulsa’s program — one of the biggest in the US — capped its inaugural class of acceptances at 100 people. (Only 70 actually enrolled.)
  • When it launched last year, Alabama’s Remote Shoals program sought to attract just 10 tech workers.
  • Vermont’s is on hold after funding 69 people at ~$3.6k each.

At their current size, these programs won’t solve the population woes of the localities offering them — or make big-city expats rich. But considering how much moving companies are making right now, a few extra Gs is nothing to sneeze at.

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.