Austin and St. Louis Startups Show You Don’t Need the Coasts to Succeed

In Alexi Harding’s VentureBeat article “Austin and St. Louis Startups Show You Don’t Need the Coasts to Succeed” Harding argues that the promised land of entrepreneurs has shifted from San Francisco and New York to more modest areas of the mid-America.

Harding’s reasoning for entrepreneurs to move to the heartland is simple, money.

Sure, he mentions, San Franciso and New York are known entrepreneurial hubs, but, he also points to overcrowded competition along with the high cost of living in these cities while St. Louis offers a strong startup scene at much more favorable prices.

And while the cost of living is much lower than coastal cities, Harding also points out that it may also be easier to get capital in these growing technology centers citing that, “The regions that garner the most investment [nearly $1.1 billion in seed capital] from Bay Area-based venture capitalists include upstarts like Austin, Chicago, Denver, Portland, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City.”

To punctuate his point, Harding looks to examples of venture capital firms like Revolution LLC who are “seeking to spread economic growth throughout the country” through initiatives like Rise of the Rest “that promotes regional and entrepreneurship and innovation in places as diverse as New Orleans and Atlanta.”

While Harding’s focus is mainly based on funding and cost of living, he also looks at the growth efforts of places like Austin and St. Louis to encourage young entrepreneurs to take a look at what they have to offer especially in regards to diverse attractions and collaborative nature of people helping each other succeed rather than facing a highly competitive market.

Harding looks to St. Louis as a model for building and growing an entrepreneurial center by “blending public initiatives and private institutions.” He cites programs like Arch Grants, Skandalaris Center and the highly collaborative network of entrepreneurs that exists to build up the whole rather than taking out other to get to the top.

This interconnected network of entrepreneurs is the one thing that keeps coming up when discussing St. Louis’s success in developing itself as hub for entrepreneurial growth.

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