We've made no secret of our dislike for the typical startup-takes-venture-capital storyline and culture. Maxwell Wessel at The Harvard Business Review just about codifies what repels us about it:
Raising venture capital isn’t the be all and end all of entrepreneurial success. But it is an important metric... for an important subset of the business world — firms in pursuit of explosive growth — raising capital from angel investors or venture capitalists is an early step on a long and uncertain road to success.
So, firms in pursuit of explosive growth that raise capital to fund a long and uncertain roadtrip to success are an important subset of the business world.
If you judge entrepreneurial success as surviving or selling (including raising follow-on funding, being bought, or successfully IPO’ing) as no doubt your investors do, then your odds of success are lower outside of the superhubs.
What if you judge it by something meaningful, like building something that makes your customers' lives better?
Every business is unique, so I would never claim to have the perfect answer for any founder trying to select his or her location. It’s not that founders outside of superhubs work any less hard, are any less talented, or have worse ideas. The reason the numbers look the way they do is because the environments are fundamentally different in start-up superhubs. And until community members acknowledge the shortcomings of secondary markets, and come up with some way of addressing them, then we should be open and honest with our entrepreneurs about the heavy toll they will pay to build their businesses where they live today.
The heavy toll we pay here: we're home for supper every night; our wives, children, and friends know and love us; every customer is important to us; no one's forcing us into ill-advised moonshots; we spend a good 25% of any given workday laughing together; we don't spend our days making money for someone else.
Ah, the high cost of not moving to Silicon Valley to change Populi into something that won't be here in five years.