We’ve all heard the trope: Silicon Valley is the only place to be if you want to launch a tech startup — the only place where you can secure funding.
Well, the Midwest has something to say about that.
So big, that some predict the region will have more startups than Silicon Valley within 5 years. And it’s fueled by high-profile venture capitalists leaving California for flatter pastures.
Back in 2013, Chris Olsen and Mark Kvamme, then both partners at Silicon Valley-based VC firm Sequoia Capital, decided to relocate to Columbus, Ohio and launch their own firm, Drive Capital.
And they aren’t alone: once-sleepy cities across the Midwest are now dotted with “clusters” of startup incubators and accelerators, competing with SV firms like it ain’t no thang.
Comparatively, the big-time Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz sees about 4k pitches per year, and Drive Capital isn’t far behind at a solid 3.8k.
For one, talent is cheaper in the Midwest. A top-notch engineer who would cost $200k+ in the Bay Area can be “had” for a mere $100k in Columbus, and there’s no shortage of skilled workers there.
But we’re also seeing a shift in tech investments toward non-tech sectors like agriculture and manufacturing — areas that Midwestern graduates are well-poised to disrupt.