Editor’s note: Adam Klein is the Chief Strategist for the American Underground. He is responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the Underground including marketing, programming, and leasing. Prior to that he was with the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce where he launched the Bull City Startup Stampede and The Smoffice initiatives. He’ll be blogging for WRAL News about the launch of non-stop flight service to Silicon valley from RTP, which began Wednesday, and meetings with investors as well as entrepreneurs in technology’s cradle.
SAN FRANCISCO – When you read entrepreneurial blogs from leaders like Brad Feld and others, a common theme of density appears in almost all of them. Density of entrepreneurs drives innovation and investment.
The reason is that ideas get better when people are interacting with others (I’ve seen this in projects like the Startup Stampede), networks get stronger and better linked, and talent can be shared or leveraged easily.
San Francisco does startup density like nobody else.
There are incredible shared work spaces I visited (special thanks to NextSpace SF, We Work, and Parisoma Innovation Loft for awesome hospitality) and learned a great deal in talking with companies and leaders at each.
But something has lodged in my head after my most recent conversation with Amber Wolf of Parisoma – the downside of density.
She pointed out to me that one of the difficulties of launching in Silicon Valley is that you are in a sea of startups full of good ideas and smart people.
The spaces I visited today have over 300 startups alone!
That kind of density, while it brings many great things, also makes it hard to get discovered and really hard to find developers.
“Everybody here is scrambling for developers because everyone wants to do their own thing, build their own company,” said Amber.
“The Triangle has a leg up because you can actually have a voice as a startup. You can be heard, create a presence, and attract interest. Here you’re just one in a thousand.”
I think she might be on to something.
Don’t get me wrong, we have to create more startup density in the Triangle. But we also need to help our startups do a bang-up job of taking advantage of that easier path to visibility to attract customers, interest, and investment.
We in the entrepreneurial ecosystem see Silicon Valley as the premier environment for startups (I’ve been thoroughly impressed) but there are some major downsides.
I think Durham and the Triangle ought to play to our strengths – and visibility could be a major one.