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The Land Of Why Not

Capital Investors

Capital Investors

Silicon Valley is an amazing place. It’s almost like a parallel universe. The weather is consistently sunny (south of San Fran that is) and the attitude is overwhelmingly positive. The place is awash with innovation and investment. As you drive down the 101, the terrain is littered with high rise buildings housing global brands such as McAfee, Salesforce.com and Google which have seemingly sprouted out of the ground as a result of global success.

San Francisco is buzzing right now with small nimble start-ups located in any number of incubators in the SOMA area. Incubators such as Rocketspace are less than a year old but are already well established hotbeds of innovation where companies start out as small teams, quickly scale and hence outgrow their incubator surroundings.

Speaking with its founder, Duncan Logan, his main complaint is that they do not have enough physical space to expand at the same pace as their successful start-ups who quickly outgrow the incubators and have to move out to bigger offices. One of their start-ups raised $24 million the week before I arrived and were in the process of moving out. With such demand for space in San Francisco, the really successful companies eventually grow so big that they have to migrate down the 101 to occupy shiny new high rises in the Valley. That’s the destination of globally successful start-ups.

I had a very positive week in Silicon Valley. I had the good fortune to connect with founders, mentors and investors, all of whom were gracious with their time, modest about their success and positive about the future. The culture is based on open and honest feedback with the sole intention of improving your vision and highlighting any weaknesses so that you can validate your business more quickly. The feedback and direction I received on Tweekaboo was positive and in some cases, potentially transformational.

I met the Irish founders behind companies such as Gridstore, Picbounce and Frontdesk Anywhere, each of whom has moved out there to fully commit to their business and each of whom is reaping the success of that commitment.  And why would you locate your business to Silicon Valley? In a nutshell: (1) proximity to the highest concentration of venture and angel investment in the US, (2) access to start-ups and established companies who are keen to partner in order to grow and consolidate their businesses and (3) an infectiously positive pro-innovation culture akin to “a tide that lifts all boats”.

I would encourage any Founder who needs to scale their business internationally to go there and listen. It’s the kind of place where if you’re in the right place at the right time, you could bump into people like the legendary Steve Blank over a coffee in Coupa Café and get a referral onwards to one of the Valley’s top VC’s! I expect it will be the first of many trips.

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