[This article was written by Jayson Goetz.]
Tech startups are the boom that won’t stop, well, booming. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to get your feet wet with a new app, device or other high-tech gadget, there’s a lot to consider, from startup cost to finding investors. But you’ll also want to consider just exactly where you’d like to start the next biggest idea.
Cities known for their tech industry buzz like Silicon Valley may seem like obvious choices. And with the glut of entrepreneurs and tech-minded designers in the area, many are left scratching their heads over which city will be the next tech hub. Luckily, you’ll find just as much (if not more) to love about some of the other up-and-coming tech cities around the country. Not to mention, you may just be riding the next big tech wave.
Texas’s state capital is one of the fastest-growing startup cities, not only for its proximity to top-notch universities, but for Texas’s remarkably generous personal income tax laws, not to mention Austin’s significant small-business-pride. Despite its popularity, Austin has remained relatively affordable in comparison to other tech-centric cities, and, of course, the abundance of tacos, music and things to do helps its case.
San Francisco, CA
You’ve likely heard the words “Bay Area” and “tech” in the same sentence before, and there’s no wonder why. Companies like Twitter, Uber, Dropbox and Pinterest have all made their home in San Francisco, and there’s plenty of venture capital and ambitious investors looking to make their mark in the industry. The city’s biggest hang-up? Rising rent prices. The Bay Area is notoriously pricey for those who are just cutting their teeth (and pricey for everyone else, besides). But the immense opportunity should turn your head.
D.C. has been growing its tech industry for quite some time, and in 2017 its rate of startup growth topped the charts at 75.5%. It doesn’t hurt that the capital accordingly houses the U.S. federal government. However, the presence of major tech companies such as Amazon have also helped D.C.’s tech industry flourish.
Coffee might be the first thing you think of when you think of Seattle. There’s no denying that it’s a prime spot for the country’s best coffee (after all, Starbucks’ first location resides there), but you’ll find many more types of entrepreneurs here, too. Seattle’s population is overwhelmingly educated young people, and it’s among the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Throw in a few venture capital firms and economic development ventures, and you have Seattle in a nutshell.
Forget what you’ve heard about Miami’s party culture—there are entrepreneurs here who are all business (though, of course, as they say, work hard, play hard). Miami has an incredibly high density of startups, due to its relatively low cost of living and its close ties with Latin America, not to mention its rather generous taxes.
Typically, most folks namecheck the Beehive State for Salt Lake City, and for its glorious natural attractions. But Provo has made a name for itself as a growing tech economy, with companies like Bluehost calling it home. Provo’s low median housing cost helps their case, especially in comparison to the Bay Area.
Chicago has created tens of thousands of new tech jobs in the past several years, and a variety of diverse industries call Chicago home. Co-working spaces, major companies, and lots of art and cultural icons all recommend Chicago as a top spot for tech—not only will you have plenty of like-minded colleagues in your co-working space, you’ll have plenty of new spots to dine and drink on the weekend.
Both Boulder and Denver boast startup accelerators and incubators aplenty, but it’s an opportune mix of established businesses, venture capital, startups and entrepreneurial spirit that make Boulder an ideal tech city. Colorado has successfully lured Silicon Valley and Bay Area tech entrepreneurs for its laid-back lifestyle and access to gorgeous sights. If you’re a trailblazer in multiple senses of the word, Boulder just might be for you.
By far, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro area is one of the cheapest places to begin a new tech startup. Its bounty of accelerators and incubators had already put it on the map for many startup entrepreneurs, and it’s driving distance from the Smoky Mountains and other natural treasures. For employers, you’ll find no more qualified employees than those in the “Research Triangle.” University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State all reside in the area.
The Boston area is home to some the heavy hitters in terms of intellectual capability—MIT, Harvard, Tufts and the University of Massachusetts all call the Boston metro area home, and accordingly, there’s many Harvard and MIT graduates making waves in the tech industry (even before they graduate, if Mark Zuckerberg is any indication). Fenway Park and other major sights make Boston a doubly attractive option.
Jayson is a recent graduate from Arizona State University who lives in Phoenix. Being a lover of entrepreneurship and travel, he’s always ready to bust out a business laptop and visit new places. He started writing in hope of sharing his experiences with fellow entrepreneurs and travel bugs.