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Is Silicon Valley Still the Place to Start a Company?

I was at a business dinner organized by Silicon Valley Bank a few nights ago along with a few other CEO clients of theirs. It was good to hear and share thoughts about globalization, wage inflation, innovation and different views about the economy. Everyone shared their frustration about (difficulty in) hiring, wage inflation, on-site vs. offshore development etc. During the course of discussion, one of the CEOs asked me "will you start your next company in Silicon Valley"? "Absolutely" was my answer which surprised many CEOs. However, it shouldn't come as a surprise to most entrepreneurs. And here is why. Building a company from the scratch requires a few raw ingredients, (i) talent, (ii) passion, (iii) hard work, (iv) flexibility and (v) capital. Some people might discount capital but that's besides the point. Yes, you can find talent in many places. Yes, you can find hard working people in many places. But Silicon Valley continues to be the breeding ground for innovation and has all the raw ingredients that startups need. You can find plenty of crazy entrepreneurs (or waana bees) who are willing to give up their plush jobs (turn in their badge and move to a garage), commit the next many years of their precious life to a common mission and work for no or little cash until they can afford a decent salary. And you can find crazy investors too who are willing to fund crazy ideas that may or may not work out. Innovation is not incremental improvement. It is disruptive, has lot of risks and comes with lot of unknowns that you navigate your way through. You need an environment that is conducive to this kind of venture. Yes, growing a business requires a careful operational plan that takes into account wages, ease of hiring your extended team, geographic considerations, functional division, speed of execution and your ability to scale the business rapidly. But nothing beats a good founding team that is talented, passionate, flexible and hard working. And nothing beats Silicon Valley in providing the raw ingredients for an entrepreneur to start a company and succeed. We at Retrevo have been fortunate enough to not only have a passionate extended team but equally committed investors who would stop at nothing short of building a great enterprise that "makes a difference" in your everyday life.


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