Being an Entrepreneur Outside the Valley

Silicon Valley is a great place to be to start a tech company. You will have access to Angel Investors and VCs, will be able to meet up with similar minded folks and even find a mentor to help you on your way.

But not all great tech companies are in the valley. Take Shopify, Snapchat,, and of course Ideaware for starters.

I’ve been in the tech scene for 10+ years, working with startups and companies helping them with their products (design, development, user testing, you name it), but I’ve never moved to the valley, why? never had to. Here are my thoughts on the matter:

- SV is an expensive place to live

  • The amount of people that will want to bring your idea down will be daunting
  • You will have a hard time not using a success measuring tape against your company
  • Live to work (where it should be the other way around)
  • Lack of focus: doing too much, with too much noise around you will be detrimental
  • The success of your product is not measured by how many people you pitch it to, but how many problems you actually solve for real customers

I started Ideaware in Colombia, and we’ve been doing great working remotely with our clients for the past few years. Only recently I’ve decided to open up a small space in San Francisco, due to a new project requiring an operations hub. But SF is the tip of the iceberg, we work with clients worldwide actually.

The perks and benefits of working and building a company from wherever you want are endless:

- Be where you want to be

  • Great talent is also found outside the valley
  • Focus on finding real solutions to real problems (not on valley, tech fads - picture taking app anyone?)
  • Work to live (be close to your family, close to that spot where you like to fish all year long, etc)
  • Cost of living

Beware of creating your own little bubble though. Depending on what you do, you will eventually need to connect & network. I travel to San Francisco at least 4-5 times a year, connect with friends and meet with clients & prospects, and it’s been more than enough to make Ideaware a well known agency with 25+ awesome people in the team.


Andrés Max