Updated Apr. 28, 2017 at 7:32 a.m.

Score one for RTP: CEO explains why he bolted Silicon Valley for Triangle

Published: 2017-04-27 11:09:00
Updated: 2017-04-28 07:32:45


Did you know 40 percent of people living in the San Francisco Bay area (including Silicon Valley) want out? Tech startup Map My Customers pulled the string, followed directions east and is now in RTP - for a host of reasons.

The Triangle attractionBut, first, a bit of back story.

Cindy Whitehead, the CEO who sold Sprout Pharmaceuticals for $1 billion, is now an unofficial ambassador/recruiter for the Triangle in her role as a startup investor and mentor. She tells people: "Move here!" citing many reasons (quality of life, talent, cost of living.) The Skinny and Whitehead were discussing why RTP is such a hot spot for tech startups after WRAL TechWire's Awards program Tuesday night. We happened to talk about "Map My Customers," which recently bolted the Valley for RTP. And guess what - Matthew Sniff has posted at LinkedIn why he came to Carolina, citing many reasons Whitehead stresses in her pitches.

"Ultimately, I think the single most attractive part of The Triangle region is more intangible," Sniff wrote. "By just being in the area you can hear and see that it’s not far behind recently emerged tech cities like Austin and Boulder. There’s an energy buzzing around similar to the one I felt during my time spent in The Valley, and everyone is genuinely excited to help you out (although that may just be the Southern hospitality)!"

Map My CustomersSerial investor David Gardner - who must be the fastest VC in the business based on all his Cofounders Capital deals over the past couple of years - funded Map My Customers, a key condition being: Come to RTP. Sniff and company are hear with plans to create as many as 50 jobs.

Finding talent for those new jobs is one of the reasons Sniff cites in his blog.

Here's more.

  • "#1 Cost and Quality of Living," he wrote in citing the reasons.

"This first one is going to be obvious, but for starters, rental prices for housing are more than 70% cheaper in The Triangle area than they are in the The Valley. On the same side of that coin, numbeo.com ranked The Triangle area (Raleigh/Durham) as having the 2nd highest quality of life index in the world ...

  • "#2 Access to Quality, Inexpensive Talent

"According to the 2017 US News & World Report, Duke University ranks as the 8th best university in America (better than some Ivy League institutions), and UNC Chapel Hill is the 5th best public university in the country. These two universities as well as NC State and Wake Forest are all inside of The Triangle region. There is an overwhelming amount of young, professional workers in the region, and with an incredibly low cost of living businesses are able to make fair offers to employees at more than 50% less than what they would need to pay the same employee in the Bay Area or New York/Boston (to live at the same standard). ...

  • "#3 Quick Access to Venture Capital & Free Workspaces

"On the business end of things, there’s rapidly expanding action in The Triangle region. There are an estimated 1,500 well-established startups (>5 employees) in the area on crunchbase.com alone. Durham (inside the Triangle), is ranked as № 4 in the country in VC funding per capita (behind only San Jose, San Francisco, and Boston). This means although the area doesn’t have as much capital as The Valley, it is still one of the most entrepreneurial regions in the country ..."

He then talks about co-working spaces as well as fiber access.

Sniff closes with an invitation others to make the trek to the southeast and cites the above-mentioned poll about Bay Area dissatisfaction.

"In conclusion, if you’re among the 40% of people living in the Bay Area and hoping to leave, you need to take a serious look at The Triangle," he writes.

"Welcome y’all :)"

Read the full post at:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-i-moved-our-company-from-valley-triangle-matthew-sniff?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BeraOpRVTg2FBM%2F2MzTRGPA%3D%3D

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Last time I checked Wake Forest was not in the Triangle.....
Triangle universities must offer a stronger support system for the entrepreneur. The current "top down" system from academia must transform into a more customer-centric system where the "customer" is the entrepreneur and the startup. Stanford told David Filo, Jerry Yang, Sergey Brin and Larry Page it was OK to leave and build a startup - come back anytime you want. UC Berkely just started a new 4 year degree combining business and engineering - 2 schools within Berkeley decided to work together for the benefit of the student/consumer. As long as universities treat entrepreneurs like students they will produce term papers, power points and booths at conferences. The thing about a startup is you don't get graded - Startups make you take life . . . pass / fail
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