Get out now. In the US, the taxes are going up, the middle class is dying and the value of college degrees is becoming inflated. You really want to be a cog in a corporate machine? Or just another “tech entrepreneur” competing for the same VC money in a huge Silicon Valley marathon?
It has been ranked over and over again as number two in line for best cities for entrepreneurs, so it’s no surprise it’s also a great place for young people as well. It has a balanced mixture of startups in all stages, so you can choose whether to join a validated company or to start your own. There’s a great ecosystem of R&D there also, which really encourages a protocol to learning in the initial periods in startups. As Israelis tend to be early adopters, Tel Aviv is also a great test market for new products or apps. Despite the hype about Tel Aviv, there is no funding gap. Since English is also widely spoken and often used by young people in Tel Aviv, being acclimated to city life there will be much easier.
All eyes on China. Retail and ecommerce has one of the largest market in China, with a growing middle class excited about consumption. Though technology is often monopolized by corporations like Tencent and Sina, funding smaller startups is becoming more popular as these giants will often buy them out and incorporate them. I know I’m a little bit biased, because this where I live, but Shanghai is a more supportive community of entrepreneurs than both Hong Kong and Beijing. Furthermore, it’s a much more cosmopolitan city where you will feel the pressure of the communist party less, so young founders will be exposed to a wider range of personal and professional contacts. This is a city that will grow alongside someone who is just starting a company or professional trajectory, bursting with undeniably aching but exponential growth.
I met a couple of young founders from Bangalore a couple weeks ago at Unreasonable at Sea and I will say their ingenuity and fearlessness blew me away. They put out some of the wildest ideas and defended them– and those are exactly the types of people I know I want to work with. Even Startup Genome as ranked them as one of the best cities in Asia for entrepreneurship due to it’s citizen’s high appetite for risk, strong work ethic and ability to overcome challenges faced by new companies. In a couple of years it will undoubtedly turn into a Silicon Valley outside of the US, with fierce competition but unsurpassed technological innovation.
If you want to go into mobile, go to Helsinki. As the home city of Nokia, Rovio and Applifier, engineers with a wide range of mobile expertise are very attracted to this city throughout Nordic Europe. Cleantech is also thriving in Helsinki, with The Switch taking headlines as a 5 year old wind energy startup expanding internationally. Many of the natives from Helsinki see corporate or public jobs are a better career opportunity, which leaves the space wide open for collaborations with foreign young entrepreneurs. As a culture is very transparent and honest, finding a local partner first might be the best way to launch a company here.
As a city in one of the BRIC nations, Sao Paulo not only has a growing economy but a very forgiving environment for first time founders and entrepreneurs. There’s a bustling community with many incubators and events like Startup Weekend, fostering more cooperation than competition. These events are also drawing in sponsorships from heavyweights like Microsoft, Google and Groupon. While the internal economy is currently untapped by both domestic and international investors, it is now becoming more and more closely watched by outside VC’s, hedge funds and PE firms. And of course, we know from it’s Brazilian reputation, it’s simply a fun, vibrant place to be as a young person. Quora has some other great resources about how to start an internet startup in Sao Paulo.
Look at all these opportunities. Get out and stand out!
Stephany Zoo creates fire, not flash. Incubated at powerhouses like Ralph Lauren, Princeton, and Likeable Media, Stephany is a vigorous steward of brand, relentlessly excited about enduring imprints of image and word. A New York City transplant, Stephany seeks to bridge her bicultural heritage and achieve a greater understanding of international consumer behavior in Shanghai, China. She enthusiastically advances the customer development of BUNDSHOP.COM, leveraging digital and viral assets to disseminate BUNDSHOP. COM’s vision and voice.
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