The Top City to Start a Tech Company Is Nowhere Near Silicon Valley

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The Top City to Start a Tech Company Is Nowhere Near Silicon Valley

The cost of living is much lower in this city than New York or San Francisco. Silicon Valley is the most obvious place to start a tech company, right? There are investors standing on every street corner waiting to hand out cash, good accountability with other entrepreneurs who can teach you the basics, and beautiful oceanview office spaces for rent.

The cost of living is much lower in this city than New York or San Francisco.

Silicon Valley is the most obvious place to start a tech company, right? There are investors standing on every street corner waiting to hand out cash, good accountability with other entrepreneurs who can teach you the basics, and beautiful oceanview office spaces for rent.

And, if you don’t start the next Google or Facebook in the heart of Silicon Valley, there’s also New York City–that bastion of the publishing industry, electronics retailing, wearable tech devices, and the burgeoning small factory maker movement.

Hold on for a second. What if the best place to start a tech company is nowhere near either of the coasts? In fact, what if the best city is Omaha?

In a recent study by the financial advice tech company SmartAsset (which also deserves credit for a cheeky company name), it turns out Omaha is the top pick. The biggest reason? The cost of living in Omaha is almost half that of San Francisco (about 58 percent) and less than half that of New York (40 percent). That means renting office space is going to be quite a bit cheaper, not to mention buying a home and paying expenses.

Other surprises include the fact that seven of the 10 top cities are all in the Midwest. Places like Columbus, Ohio, and Springfield, Illinois, rank higher than Chicago and Minneapolis. Iowa scored two cities in the list, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque.

According to the study, the costs of starting a company, such as renting an office, transportation, and utilities, are all much lower. It gives entrepreneurs a foothold to hire programmers, spend a little more on advertising and marketing, and get to market faster without the burden of heavy business expenses.

The rankings are based on three main factors: the number of tech workers, the typical compensation for tech workers, and the cost of living. Omaha also ranked highest on the list because of the average speed of Internet broadband, at 35Mbps. That’s 50 percent greater than the national average, according to SmartAsset. The main reason the two Iowa cities rank so high is because of the cost of living, which is about 92 percent of the national average.

What does it really mean? For those thinking of creating a new iPhone app or a website, it’s a good idea to think about how much money you will need for the fundamentals–paying rent, hiring workers, and paying utilities. Employees will pay much more to live in San Francisco and therefore demand a much higher salary.

Welcome to the big time, Omaha!


Original article written by and permission to republish provided by:

JOHN BRANDON | Columnist

John Brandon is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.