Why Silicon Valley Is Still ‘Worth It’ – 3 Advantages for German Startups That Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Mention

Written by Andreas Hofmann

Portrait of Andreas Hofmann

Some years ago, Silicon Valley was undeniably the most favored hub for tech startups in the world. We know Silicon Valley as the birthplace of Apple, Google, Facebook, and an ecosystem that accommodates thousands of startups hosting a majority of the world’s unicorns. Up until today, Silicon Valley attracts founders from all over the world to give their ideas a shot. The ecosystem is still considered a melting pot with a highly skilled workforce and a pool of talents, passionate innovators, massive venture funds, and early-adopter customers.

Recently, however, some voices have started casting doubts on the San Francisco Bay Area as the uncontested, best place for next-gen tech. In a recent Business Insider article, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted that “If I was starting from scratch now, I would not pick the Bay Area.” He talks about how social media and cloud platforms enable budding companies to find new customers wherever they are. He also believes that “Silicon Valley being an all-tech town there’s not as much diversity of how people think about things.” Lastly, he is concerned about the high costs of living since it’s a major barrier to running a business and hiring talent.

These are valid arguments, and as an accelerator based in Silicon Valley, among other locations, we are highly sensitive to these developments. However, we also know that Silicon Valley’s 3 major advantages are nearly impossible to experience anywhere else:

Summary of '3 Advantages for German Startups'

1. A Risk-Seeking Growth Mindset

Silicon Valley is the home of geniuses in hoodies, “Rockstar CEO’s,” and the whole idea of “disruption,” now a global buzzword. You will find a mindset based on the idea that you can reinvent an entire industry and change the world for the better. If someone says it can not be done, there will always be someone in Silicon Valley who can do it and make it happen. The entrepreneurial spirit across all industry players is all about innovation, risk-taking, and embracing failure. Where else will you find such a dense population of visionaries and mavericks? Being surrounded by these role models fuels creativity, passion, and technological breakthroughs.

2. A Powerful Startup Network

The Silicon Valley network of founders, investors, and highly skilled talent form a unique symbiosis connecting a revolutionary mindset to an optimal milieu of innovation and entrepreneurship. The high concentration of early adopters, corporate innovation outposts, and tech giants combined with like-minded entrepreneurs optimizes product-market fit and accelerates growth. As people deeply believe in the power of networking, Silicon Valley provides a fast-tracked exchange of knowledge, introductions, and strategic advice. Let’s also not forget that the Valley is influenced by Stanford University, that has enabled the foundation of 40,000 companies since the 1930s.

San Francisco Skyline During Golden Hour

3. World’s Largest Pool of Venture Capital

Silicon Valley boasts the world’s top venture capital and angel investors. Bay Area startups attracted $45.9bn worth of funding in 2019 alone, which is more than a third of all U.S. venture capital – not to mention that almost 1/4 of the world’s unicorns originated in Silicon Valley. The risk-seeking angel or venture capital mindset promotes high-speed development and hyper-growth companies. Investors like to provide what is called “smart money,” a combination of funding and in-depth business advice. Money does not grow on trees here but is available to those who have grit.

So, what’s the take-away?

While Mr. Zuckerberg would not found his next company in Silicon Valley, it still is a life-changing opportunity for any company trying to gain access to the world’s largest startup hub. Entrepreneurs can expect an environment that is fiercely competitive but welcoming to their ideas and innovations. There is an outstanding value of Silicon Valley’s spirit, top-notch network, and access to funding that remains unmatched. We believe that having a strategic partner in the form of a mentor or accelerator is an invaluable advantage in successfully navigating through Silicon Valley.

Are you a German startup seeking to scale in the U.S.? Check out our German Accelerator programs in Boston, New York, and Silicon Valley.