“[San Francisco] is unique with regard to startups. It is like the mother ship – where it all began,” said Sri Lekha Srinivasan, Founder and Chief Learner at K-12 Nest.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, it seems that San Francisco is truly one of the best places to be for everyone (not just for women entrepreneurs). Considering its history of lucrative upstart businesses, many people continue to come to the city to seek similar successes. Through the years, this has culminated in a literal community of entrepreneurs and an ethos of mutual support. “San Francisco is a small city with a tight network,” said Rose Broome, founder and CEO of HandUp. “There are more entrepreneurs here per square inch than anywhere else in the world so it doesn’t take much to get connected to the people and resources you need.”
HandUp was just one of the startups that competed in 1776’s Challenge Cup San Francisco Regional Competition. The startup’s direct donation system for homeless people allowed it to win in the competition’s Smart Cities category. “There’s a culture of sharing here – people want to help each other,” said Broome. According to her, San Francisco’s large entrepreneur population has created a very supportive and bustling startup environment, and many others agree.
“[There's a] sheer concentration of startup[s], which means like-minded people…[San Francisco] is a great hub to meet people doing cool things and learning from one another,” according to Katouli Corey, the cofounder and CEO of Demonstranda, a social media learning platform that connects students and educators. Everywhere in San Francisco, entrepreneurs can meet others passionately pursuing their own interesting projects; however, despite this, the startup community is overwhelmingly supportive.
This supportive culture has contributed largely to the continued success of the San Francisco startup community. Despite the rapidly increasing cost of rent in the city, there’s no shortage of talent in the area and startups continue to pop-up on a regular basis. And, while this support certainly won’t prevent startup failures (as San Francisco sees an equal number of startup failures as other startup ecosystems), the cooperative nature of San Francisco’s startup ecoystem provides a kind of safety net. If and when a startup does fail, there continues to be others there to support and encourage the next venture. “There is a strong culture for entrepreneurship – to try and fail if needed, to win the next time,” said Deep Chakraborty, the cofounder and CEO of enACT Systems, the Energy winner at the Challenge Cup San Francisco.
Basically, if you’re looking for a supportive community of entrepreneurs that can and will encourage you to pursue creating innovative startups, things don’t get any better than San Francisco’s startup ecosystem. Said Chakraborty:
“Many countries / cities and regions have tried to replicate this model and have not been able to succeed.”
The Challenge Cup is produced by 1776 in partnership with Tech Cocktail and iStrategyLabs.