So you want to start a tech business. The three most important factors to consider? Location, location, location.
No, this isn’t a real estate scheme. There’s a lot more to launching a startup than picking out office space. But location is certainly something to think about if your plans are bigger than your parents’ basement. That’s why we went searching for the best U.S. cities to launch a startup.
New Haven, CT
From its thriving downtown to its idyllic coastline, New Haven has a lot to offer. With Yale University just minutes from center city, New Haven is ripe with the next generation of problem solvers and creative thinkers. A laundry list of startups have seen success on the Long Island sound, from Continuity, an online compliance management company to C8 Sciences, a cognitive skill development program. Who’s to say your name won’t be next?
The Sunshine State’s fifth-largest city offers blue skies and endless options for entertainment. Orlando’s bustling metropolis is a hub of innovation, but it’s surrounded by equally energetic suburban areas too—Sanford to the north and Kissimmee to the south. Wherever you land in greater Orlando, you’ll have a top-notch tech community. Organizations like the Orlando Tech Association, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and Enterprise Florida, Inc. are committed to helping startups grow.
Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge combines capital city energy with contemporary Southern charm. Its historic architecture, vibrant culture and location along the Mississippi are major draws for tourists and locals alike. Plus, with LSU’s main campus located just outside city center, there’s an untapped talent pool 31,000 minds deep. Despite its substantial population, Baton Rouge offers a close-knit entrepreneurial community. UP Baton Rouge is just one organization that drives momentum for startups and small businesses across the city.
New Orleans, LA
Looking for a little southern hospitality? Start your business in the Big Easy. New Orleans offers unmatched nightlife and a world-class music scene. (Not to mention the country’s best beignets.) The city serves as a melting pot of many cultures, making it a catalyst for collaboration and growth—just ask time-honored tech companies like Bellwether IT. Bonus points: Louisiana offers a slew of small business incentives and tax credits for digital companies.
This southern Oregon city presents seemingly limitless potential for growth. Medford has fostered its fair share of startups like Hive, which offers a streamlined project management dashboard. But the area isn’t just a great place to work. It boasts endless opportunities for adventure—from jet boat rides to vineyard tours. Medford is located in Rogue Valley, halfway between San Francisco and Portland. (Not that you’d ever want to leave.)
The largest town on Cape Cod is actually made up of seven distinct villages. If you’re looking to get down to business, check out Hyannis, Barnstable’s commercial district. The quintessentially quaint New England town is perfect for beach days and Main Street strolls. But it’s also a hotbed of tech leaders like Savant Systems, a home automation company. Ready to set up shop? Join the Cape Cod Technology Council to get in touch with fellow entrepreneurs.
While a truly genius idea can succeed just about anywhere, choosing the right place for your company—and your employees—could give your startup a jump start. There’s no magic formula for determining which city holds the key to success. But there is one thing we know for sure: startups aren’t just for Silicon Valley anymore.
San Francisco, CA
There’s a reason why Silicon Valley became the startup capital of the country. San Francisco attracts the best of the best. Berkeley scholars, tech wizards and business visionaries come from across the country to live in the city by the bay. Settle down anywhere from Union Square to Oakland and you’ll be in great company. SF’s latest and greatest tech startups include Seeo, which creates market-leading battery solutions and Connora Technologies, which develops unique materials for the electronics and composites industries.
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara County sits along California’s central coast, just a couple hours outside sprawling Los Angeles. Seaside cities from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara enjoy the sunny-and-75 lifestyle, without all the traffic. Thriving industry disruptors like Rincon Technology have proven that SoCal is a great place get your business off the ground. Check out the vibe at Santa Barbara’s Synergy Business and Technology Center. (You could be looking at your new office.)
Santa Rosa, CA
Gorgeous Sonoma County is tech-tested and tech-approved. Nestled in the heart of the wine country, Santa Rosa functions as a Northern California highlight reel: you can hike, bike and explore everything from redwoods to microbreweries. But don’t forget that the West Coast mindset is “work hard, play hard.” Hungry for success? Santa Rosa’s vibrant, urban feel makes it the perfect place for bright minds to get together and grind out wins. Digital agency The Engine is Red knows what we mean.
Northern California’s fast-growing city of Stockton offers a unique blend of culture, history and nature. It’s a top destination for a tech-minded folks—but not just trendy digital companies. Condor Earth Technologies delivers tech-driven solutions for everything from chemical testing to construction. Weekend warriors, there’s more good news: Stockton is within driving distance of major destinations like Sacramento, San Francisco and Yosemite.
Riverfront Spokane is the economic and cultural center of Northwest Washington. If you like to live, work and play surrounded by nature, we’ve got good news: everybody here is down to earth. The city welcomes a variety of industries and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes—there’s no shortage of arboretums, parks and hiking trails. In addition to Gonzaga University, Spokane is home to all kinds of tech startups, from software application developers Limelyte, to vehicle emissions tech innovators Applus.
Bayside Bellingham offers beauty as far as the eye can see. (In this case it’s all the way from the waterfront to Mount Baker.) Bellingham’s eclectic downtown is located less than an hour away from both Vancouver and Seattle. And in addition to great kayaking and craft beer, the city offers substantial incentives for small businesses. Want more information before you dive in? Whatcom and the Washington Technology Industry Association have all the resources you need.
Right-Click analysts pulled statistics for over 300 metro areas and aggregated the data according to four main factors: population, internet strength, cost of living and competitive salary. After crunching the numbers, we found startup-friendly cities from coast to coast.
Internet speed is factored using Broadband.gov. The rating system is based on the percentage of the area that has Internet speed of 100 mbps.
Internet usage is factored as the percentage of the metro area with an Internet subscription.
Competitive Salary is factored using the average salary of computer jobs in the area based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.