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Do I really need to go to Silicon Valley?

When Dutch companies grow, there comes a time that they may be considering expanding into the United States. They may want go there to access the world’s largest single market, or even hope to find funding to grow faster. Many companies automatically assume that emerging tech companies must go to Silicon Valley.

Depending on the type of company, Silicon Valley may be the right choice, but for many other companies other innovation regions in the U.S. would make more sense.

In what other U.S. regions is there a large concentration of tech startups? When following the (investment) money, we will see that from the $48.3B Venture Capital investments in 2014 the largest portion, representing $23.8B, went to the San Francisco Bay Area, which includes Silicon Valley. Second is Boston with $4.4B, closely followed by New York with $4.2B. Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago are next. [Data: National Venture Capital Association]

Each of the important innovation regions has its own specializations.

In addition to the mentioned sectors, all regions are home to companies in other sectors.

Having an office on the West Coast has some practical disadvantages. The time zone difference with the Netherlands is nine hours, which means that there is no overlap of regular business hours. Earlier in my career I had to manage the 12-hour time zone difference between Tokyo and Boston, which was not easy. Silicon Valley is a large and hectic environment where international entrepreneurs easily get lost when competing with some of the most aggressive companies in the U.S.

Here are some of the factors you should consider when deciding where to establish your company’s presence in the US:

When considering all the aspects mentioned above, you may come to the conclusion that Silicon Valley is not the right destination for your company after all.

Jos ScheffelaarJos Scheffelaar is a Dutch entrepreneur who moved to Boston more than 20 years ago after working in high tech in several countries in Europe and in Asia. He is CEO and co-founder of the Launch in US Alliance, a company helping European entrepreneurs launch their business in the U.S.

Frontpage image by Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

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