The Delicate Relationship between Startups and City Governments

October 6, 2014

7:45 pm

With more cities developing and growing their entrepreneurial community comes the important question of funding. “We are seeing that more startups are not having to move from their cities to find funding,” said Clara Sieg of Revolution Ventures in a panel led by Eric Olson of Origin Ventures during Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference.

But how can cities support these growing ecosystems and invest in innovation? That was the topic of discussion: the relationship between entrepreneurs and government.

“What both sides need to focus on is understanding each other and talking,” explained Paul Singh, founder of the Crystal Tech Fund.

In cities where technology is moving faster than government regulations, there is not only a generational disconnect but there isn’t a clear understanding how technology can contribute to a city’s growth, regardless of the industry.

“We noticed that by investing in local startups, once they have the successful exit, they invest back into their own community. Technology is an enabler,” said Andy White of the VegasTechFund.

And for many cities, that means leveraging the city’s strength to create opportunities to innovate traditional industries. This can become an incentive for more collaboration between the city and local entrepreneurs.

“Sometimes something as simple as providing tax relief for startups helps,” explained Gabe Karp of Detroit Venture Partners.

But sometimes this is not a smooth relationship, as we see in the case of Uber in various cities. For those cases, Singh gave this advice: “Start by NOT breaking any rules when introducing a technology that affects the public sector. I know this is the complete opposite of what we usually say about disruption in the private sector” – i.e., there, you can break all the rules. But with governments, sometimes a light touch is necessary.

On October 6-7, Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference is gathering hundreds of attendees, industry leaders, and inspiring speakers in downtown Vegas to meet the hottest startups and investors from around the country, learn and collaborate with others turning their communities into startup cities, and enjoy music, parties, and llama spotting. Check out more Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference coverage here.


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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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