The Observation Deck

The 4 Best Cities for Startups Other Than San Francisco

Silicon Valley has geographically reigned the high-tech world since the beginning of the technological expansion. It became the home to major corporations such as Apple and Intel, acquiring one-third of venture capital investment in the country. The Valley also relies on Stanford University and the Department of Defense for development and funding. However, Silicon Valley does not boast affordability and attraction the way it once did. Here are the four best cities for startups other than San Francisco, located at the four corner points of the country. Each city provides divergent environments and appeal to startup investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses.


best cities for startups

Located nearest to Silicon Valley of all four cities, Seattle has a large and early influence from North California. Companies such as Starbucks and online retailer Amazon were initially established in the area. Connections to tech and entrepreneurial talent have produced many startup businesses. The state does not have an income tax, which is good for residents. Although the cost of living is high, income rates are reasonably high as well, making it a more affordable option than the San Francisco Bay area.

Proximity to the Pacific Ocean and mountain ranges are always a welcome distraction from busy city life. Seattle’s welcoming community also offers original cafes, reading gatherings, and massive public fountains to cool off in the summer.


best cities for startupsTexas likes big, and so does Austin. The state’s capital is home to young adults and entrepreneurs who enjoy the nightlife, music festivals, and outdoor fitness. The city promotes itself as the “live music capital of the world” for its many music venues and concerts, as well as “Silicon Hills” for its increasing presence of tech companies.

Residents unofficially adopt the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” to describe the diverse and accepting crowd. Innovation-influencing festival South by Southwest is a major attraction to tech developers and investors, film producers and critics, and up-and-coming and well-known artists. Stephanie Walden reports that the city “ranked first in the Kauffman Foundation’s Startup Activity Index for 2015.” The city also solves San Francisco’s issue of affordability with its low rent rates and real estate pricing.


best cities for startupsThe northeast city of Baltimore has seen major growth over the last couple of years. The initial industrially-employing town is looking to transition into a tech economy. The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore is also incentivizing startups and companies with $10,000 grants through the TechConnect program to move into the city’s center.

Its location is the perfect business center for startups and companies. The attraction of the harbor and proximity to other businesses has interested established companies like American Technology Services that are now opening offices in the center of the city.


best cities for startupsIf you’re seeking a complete change of environment, South Florida’s white sand beaches and endless nightlife offer a fun atmosphere for entrepreneurs. The city’s downtown region is renovating its buildings and creating workspaces for potential startups to launch. Perhaps the biggest incentive for companies is that the state of Florida does not impose many taxes such as income, property, or investment taxes. Miami is also rich in Latino and Caribbean culture with globally-influenced food spots, modern and urban art, and entertainment.

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