There’s no denying that California’s Silicon Valley dominates when it comes to tech development and startups, but it’s not the only place in the world full of hot young talent and new ideas. Cities like New York, Boston, Seattle, and Austin are major contenders for the title of the world’s "next Silicon Valley." What makes them so ripe for development? Lower costs of doing business, great sources of talent, and fresh resources for exciting new developments, to name a few. Check out the seven cities we think are ready to become the next Silicon Valley, and share your picks in the comments.
Thanks to the booming Silicon Alley in Manhattan, New York City is thought by many to be the "next Silicon Valley" that already exists. It lives up to its name with Google’s second-largest office and more than a billion in venture capital deals. Plus, Cornell University has huge plans for a Roosevelt Island Tech Center campus housing a graduate school for technology that is sure to launch the area to an even higher status in the tech world. And if NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has anything to say about it, NYC will at some point overtake Silicon Valley itself.
As a major higher education center, few places even come close to Boston’s density of colleges and universities. Boasting business and tech powerhouses Northeastern, Harvard and MIT, to name a few, it’s no wonder that the Boston area is regularly churning out tech startups in numbers that rival both Silicon Valley and New York City. Boston is especially hot for security and data startups, as well as transportation startups, including TripAdvisor and Kayak. Plus, the area is ripe for picking up great talent, with students from top schools graduating every year. Many startups also benefit from Boston’s massive collection of incubators and venture capital firms, including TechStars, Y Combinator, and Gen Y Capital Partners. Boston has all the resources it needs to become the next Silicon Valley, and it’s possible we’ll see that happen soon.
- Los Angeles:
Not terribly far from Silicon Valley itself, the Los Angeles area and Southern California are emerging as a contender for the next Silicon Valley. LA has a great entrepreneurial culture, particularly in entertainment and apparel, but now more than ever, in technology. The entertainment industry in LA has grown to include more games, video, and data, becoming a destination for creating tech-based entertainment companies. There’s no shortage of technical talent with a wealth of engineering graduates. In fact, universities in LA produce more engineering grads than anywhere else in California, Silicon Valley included. Plus, LA has the money to back up all this innovation, with strong investors both in LA and close by in Silicon Valley. Will we see a future in which LA quietly siphons Silicon Valley’s resources for its own innovation boom?
In the beautiful foothills of Boulder, Colo., lies a hub for tech innovation and capital. Although some may think of Boulder as strictly a hippie college town, it’s increasingly becoming a hot spot for high tech startups. Some startups have moved to the area in hopes of standing out among the crowd. In Silicon Valley, these startups may have been small fish in a big pond, but in Boulder, they’ve got a fighting chance and a great support system with an inviting culture. Thanks to universities, a small town feel, and a lifestyle that’s appealing to startups, Boulder is a great place to lure both industry veterans and burgeoning new talent. Boulder, and nearby Denver, have a wealth of startup incubators, and even their own venture capital firms including The Foundry to help launch new ventures, making it a great place for grads to stick around and launch their dreams, or bring in established firms looking for a place to stretch their legs. More and more, Boulder is looking like a great alternative to would-be Silicon Valley firms searching for a more inclusive and relaxed tech scene.
Like Boulder, Austin is a college town with a growing tech scene, offering a great alternative for startups that have grown weary of Silicon Valley. Austin is increasingly being considered a great place to start or relocate a tech business. Thanks to its annual South by Southwest festival, particularly SXSWi, tech geeks flock to the city and see its young talent firsthand. Not only that, Austin has a low cost of living, is a great place to raise a family, and with the University of Texas, has an educated population to fill the needs of established tech giants and startups alike. Facebook and LegalZoom have both opened offices in Austin, expanding beyond Silicon Valley and into the Texas capital. And years ago, Michael Dell dropped out of UT to start Dell, a company that continues to influence the region today. Plus, with incubators like Texas Venture Labs and Austin Technology Incubator, tech startups in the city have lots of resources for going big.
Well-established as a location for growing tech outsourcing companies, Bangalore, India, isn’t just a call center for U.S. tech companies: it’s a spot for innovation itself. With a huge pool of engineering graduates, low labor costs, and lots of new technology startups, Bangalore is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Bangalore startups are even attracting venture capital outfits from Silicon Valley itself, including Silicon Valley Bank, which notes that they’ve seen twice the amount of Indian startups looking for capital than they used to. We’re likely to see more high tech growth come out of this Indian city in the near future.
A bit farther north on the East Coast, Seattle has all it needs to become the next Silicon Valley. The Emerald City offers competitive salaries and a lower cost of living that make it attractive to tech companies, so it’s no surprise that the likes of Facebook, Adobe, Hulu, eBay, and Google have all opened offices in Seattle. Amazon is also headquartered there, and let’s not forget that nearby Redmond, WA is home to tech giant Microsoft. Tech entrepreneurs love Seattle for its local capital, risk-taking startup incubators, and the excellent human capital produced by the University of Washington’s Computer Science and Engineering program, one of the top 10 in the country.