It doesn’t matter where you start a company — or, at least, it doesn’t matter as much as it might have a few years ago.
“People say, where should I start my company?” Evernote CEO Phil Libin said during our PandoMonthly event. “The answer I would give is, you should start a company wherever your team of super-talented, super-bright, best-friends-for-life, willing-to-work-for-free people are.”
It might be easier to raise capital in Silicon Valley than in Miami, and New York might be a better cultural fit than Tulsa, but ultimately it’s become easier than ever to start a company outside of those two areas.
Libin attributes this shift to companies like Apple and Google which, through their apps marketplaces, mobile operating systems, and other platforms, have made it easier to reach hundreds of millions of people from practically anywhere in the world. “If anything, Silicon Valley is working on making itself less special,” he said.
Which isn’t to say that the App Store and the rise of mobile can’t benefit Valley-based companies like Evernote, as Libin noted earlier in the interview:
I think if the App Store hadn’t happened we would probably be a niche company. We’d have some PC and Mac software and some smartphone software. We probably couldn’t afford freemium, so we’d probably have a few hundred thousand users. It would probably be a medium-sized lifestyle business.
“Apple gets a lot of credit for a lot of innovation,” Libin said. “I think the App Store is the most important thing that they did in terms of effect on the universe.”
And that’s why he can say things like “It doesn’t matter where you start your company” and at least partly mean it.
[Photo by Yelena Sophia for PandoDaily]