Why will Silicon Valley rule the start-up universe? Because they're already there.
Los Angeles area also has a pool of talented engineers (working at aerospace companies like Lockheed, Northrop and Hughes) and great universities (notably Caltech and U.C.L.A.) and plenty of money to invest. “But in Los Angeles,” he said, “people are scattered across a wide area; everything is more spread out.”
It’s harder for entrepreneurs to meet with one another and with investors, he added. And that means connections take longer, deals move slowly, fewer companies are formed. “Like a gas, entrepreneurship is hotter when compressed.” he said.
Sequoia makes its preference for the 20-minute rule almost explicit, telling applicants whose companies are at the “seed stage” (receiving less than $1 million) or “early stage” ($1 million to $10 million) that “it is helpful if the company is close to our offices” because they “require very frequent contact.”
And more on startups as a priority:
“In New York, it would be extremely difficult to find a law firm willing to defer the first $20,000 of your legal fees,” Mr. Sternberg said. “Here, we got that. It’s a pretty standard thing in Silicon Valley.”
... He did end up needing Silicon Valley for something else: technical talent that would be willing to accept equity in place of any salary. Six weeks ago, he moved to Silicon Valley to recruit more people like his chief technical officer, who has been working full time since Jan. 1 for equity only.
“Elsewhere, if people in a large organization think you have potential, they offer you a job, trying to save you from the uncertainties of a start-up,” said Mr. Sengupta, who himself has worked at Oracle, Microsoft and General Motors. “In Silicon Valley, they say, ‘Can I join you?’ ”
Mr. Sengupta now has six “employees” working for BeyondCore without salaries. Only in Silicon Valley, he said, do “people have confidence that if you act on great ideas, the money will come.”