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Silicon Valley’s powerful entrepreneurial economy has led to some major downsides: gridlocked traffic, high housing prices and an evergrowing and aggressive tech backlash. Today, three cities previously known more as vacation destinations are actually legitimate alternatives to Silicon Valley life at a more affordable price. For the adventurous startup or mature tech company, there’s life beyond red taillights, long commutes and protestors blockading buses.
NEVADA, Denver and Reno, Nev., mix together a captivating startup culture with world-class recreation or entertainment. Plus they all do it in places with a lot of affordable housing, a few million fewer highway-clogging cars and without the debate over gentrification.
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1. NEVADA. Tony Hsieh gets credit for jump-starting Las Vegas’ startup scene along with his $350 million Downtown Project, however the city is continuing to grow into a lot more than his personal project. Switch Communication’s founder, Rob Roy, is pumping energy and money in to the InNEVation Center, a collaboration space that delivers a number of the fastest Internet speeds on the globe (thanks to his company’s SuperNAP data center) and serves as a gathering place for startup and economic development events.
Las Vegas’ Downtown Container Park, where a massive metal praying mantis sculpture shoots flames out of its antennae, hosts live music events along with original retail and dining spots. It’s helping draw new hospitality sector investment like Seth Schorr’s new ultramodern Downtown Grand hotel, a gaming, dining and entertainment venue.
As the VegasTech Fund, founded by Hsieh, is a big influencer around, early-stage and maturing NEVADA companies can seek financing from the NEVADA Valley Angels, Brennan Capital and state sources just like the Battle Born Venture Fund and the Silver State Opportunities Fund.
Competitive advantages: NEVADA can be an hour’s flight from California’s two biggest population centers and the guts of the convention and trade show universe. Representatives of the biggest companies on earth touch down for business networking and product launches. NEVADA has affordable housing and business costs, anchor businesses like Zappos and Switch Communications and a year-round industry-event schedule. Median home prices are $164,700, according to Zillow; about 50 % a million dollars significantly less than San Jose’s.
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2. Denver. A wholesome startup ecosystem includes companies of most maturity levels, whereby ones which have grown from shoestring outfits to advertise leaders might reinvest locally. And Denver has businesses in fast-growing industries and companies large and small, young and mature. Denver-based businesses like HomeAdvisor, now a subsidiary of IAC with 1,200 employees, take part in community-building events like Denver Startup Week.
At the guts of Denver’s startup activity is Galvanize, a 30,000-square-foot entrepreneurial campus including a capital raising funding firm, aswell as collaborative co-working space and a social hub for events and education. Companies with origins in the Denver area include Mapquest, Photobucket, Rally Software, Cloudzilla and Forkly.
Firms like Grotech Ventures, with offices in Denver, are financing startups and so are joined by large Boulder-based funds just like the Foundry Group.
Competitive advantage: Denver is situated in a mountainous region that lots of consider more of a destination when compared to a business hub. Indeed Colorado ski resorts are simply down the highway and the area’s mountain biking and hiking trails are virtually endless. Denver offers all this, while retaining an inexpensive cost of living. Home prices, at a median degree of $254,800, are greater than in Reno, Nev., and NEVADA, but still not even half the cost of San Jose’s.
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3. Reno ’s allure lies using its geographic location, affordability and emerging and energetic startup scene. It’s a morning’s drive from Silicon Valley and only a half-hour car trip from the ski slopes and beaches of Lake Tahoe. That mixture of business friendliness, standard of living and entrepreneurial energy is attracting small, scrappy startups and the satellite offices of a few of the world’s largest technology companies.
THE LARGEST Little City has transitioned from a gambling mecca into an entrepreneurial spot. Tesla Motors is eyeing the town to accommodate its new “gigafactory,” a multibillon-dollar battery-production headquarters; Apple has recently built a data center there and Intuit, Microsoft Licensing and Drone America are headquartered around. Homegrown startups are sprouting downtown. Reno’s Startup Row along the Truckee River features cloud-computing companies and fitness-software outfits, a captivating co-working collective and a hardware developer that builds microcontrollers.
Reno’s vibrant entrepreneurial culture includes 1 Million Cups events, hackathons and startup weekends throughout the year. Marmot Properties is remodeling and updating scores of Reno homes in central locations to accommodate the influx of entrepreneurs.
Capital had a need to fuel startup activity can be available: The Silver State Opportunities Fund is investing $50 million in Nevada-based business. And the Battle Born Venture Fund is circumstances fund that delivers critical funding for early-stage, high-growth companies in Nevada. The Reno Accelerator Fund invests in early-stage companies in the administrative centre.
Competitive advantage: Reno’s home prices certainly are a world from Silicon Valley’s. The median Reno home price is $198,700, according to Zillow (significantly less than a third of San Jose’s) so nearby tech startups and maturing companies don’t need to worry about employees desperate for homes or commuting extended hours.
Reno’s tax environment is known as business friendly. And city’s startup scene is alongside a downtown whitewater kayak park with terrific skiing and a web of mountain bike trails nearby. Plus, Reno’s thriving bar, restaurant, coffee and entertainment scene includes Campo, named among the nation’s best new restaurants by Esquire in 2012.
Below see an infographic created by the Economic Development Agency for Western Nevada to advertise Reno’s startup culture.
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