Think that Northern California’s Silicon Valley area is the only place business innovators congregate? While there’s no doubt the Santa Clara and San Jose areas are flush with investor capital and brilliant tech talent, a number of other regions around the the U.S. are starting to find their footing in the world of startups. These cities are proving that you don’t need to land in SFO is order to get on the ground floor of something that’s going to be big.
The chilly northern state of Michigan attracted an impressive $242 Million worth of venture capital last year, and its crop of innovative businesses are proving that a cold environment can produce some hot ideas. The center of this business boom is Ann Arbor, a city in the Southeastern region of the state. Some of the trailblazers include Seelio, an online app that allows students and executives to collaborate, share their projects, and build their personal brand.
Austin, home of the massive technology event South By Southwest Interactive, is growing a generation of startups true to the city’s independent ethos. Many of these bootstrap businesses first started as an idea in The University of Texas’ Texas Venture Labs. Some of the companies making national waves include icon.me, a way for business professionals to easily network, and Boxer, an app that helps people overcome email inbox overload.
What better place to build up a company than in the light of the never-ending sunshine of San Diego? Some venture capitalists help the region’s entrepreneurs by hosting startup camps aimed at helping the sun-loving go-getters get the funding and and training they need to get their ideas off the ground. San Diego based companies like The Control Group are paving the road for other innovative startups in Southern California.
Can startups based in the midwest really find the kind of talent and capital necessary to make a company grow quickly? Yes, they can, thanks mostly to the University of Kansas’ Center for Technology Commercialization. Due to the support to KU, a number of innovative biotech companies like Savara Pharmaceuticals are helping to find the health care solutions of the future.
With a population of under 100,000, who would have guessed that this rocky-mountain town would be home a plethora of buzzworthy companies and tech products? Colorado already sees the birth of a new startup every 72 hours. But Boulder, a longtime home to hippies and an occasional resting point for Jack Kerouac-style wanderers, is building up the most impressive startup-per-capita ratio in the state. One of the coolest apps to come out of Boulder is TeamSnap, a cool method of helping sports team stay organized.
It’s not surprising that ambitious entrepreneurs are building up businesses in places other than the San Francisco Bay. Startups are about finding new ways to solve old problems, not repeating the strategies of other companies. Young, ambitious leaders are proving that a particular zip code isn’t necessary to create truly innovative business solutions.
Logan Strain is a writer based in Souther California. He writes about start ups, company culture, and other business topics.
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