What is it that makes an ordinary city blossom into a robust tech hub? It’s a question that pervades the minds of almost everybody involved in building a tech ecosystem in a city, all the way from the locals up to the VC investors.
There are common threads that tie US tech hubs together. Specifically, Dave Parker – current CEO of Code Fellows and former SVP of Product & Programs at UP Global – tells us there are five of them: density, government regulations, culture, talent, and access to said talent.
Further, Parker believes that these five elements play a major role in attracting Startup Week to certain cities. That is, when a city is able to host a successful Startup Week, it is in and of itself an indicator that they're a strong tech hub.
Of all the cities still on the tour list for Startup Week, we currently find ourselves staring directly at Seattle – they'll be stopping there from October 26 through 30. As it currently stands, there are over 100 events scheduled for Seattle’s Startup Week and there are already over 1,000 registered attendees.
You see, Seattle has a long list of resources, entrepreneurs, and technologists that can help first time founders get their feet under them and acclimate to the city. The beauty of Startup Week visiting Seattle is that it brings all of these resources together and puts them on display: everything that happens over the course of one, calendar year is condensed into one week.
The other inherently beautiful element of Startup Week is that it evolves and adapts with each individual city is passes through. For Seattle, there’s a definite paradigm that’s been set surrounding enterprise software because of the Microsoft influence. It all ties into the definition of what the city is, who represents it, and what they’re doing to advance tech fields. Not every city is Silicon Valley, nor should they all strive to be cut from the same cloth.
“We want to be Seattle, not the Valley. Each city’s tech hub has a unique DNA based on the companies and capital moving through the region,” says Parker.
There's a secondary layer to all of this as well, which Brad Feld writes about in his book Startup Communities. The #givefirst mindset is all about providing value for startups, and that's one of the single most influential pillars supporting Startup Week. I can't stress this enough – everything they do is all for the startups.
“Startup Week isn’t a ‘Hey, I’m coming to Seattle, will you introduce me to all the VIPs?’ kind of thing. Come serve the community first and you’ll be amazed at what you get out of it in return,” says Parker. “Not to mention, everybody is a VIP at Startup Week.”
You also can’t discredit the level of help and support that Chase for Business brings to Startup Week. Their involvement is crucial to helping cities like Seattle put their best foot forward, effectively embodying the #givefirst mindset that drives Startup Week.
That is, brand new startups need banking services: plain and simple. However, they’re not going to be the best customers right off the bat. According to Parker, what Chase realizes here is that they will be good customers if proper amount of time and energy is invested into them.
To that end, Seattle Startup Week is poised to be a great one, and, just like Denver, I get the good fortune to be on the ground providing live coverage for all of you. I'm really excited to check out the Techstars Demo Day and Fast Pitch Forum, the veterans track, and the youth involvement in STEM – I've been told there will be kids with top of the line lemonade stands all over town.
Editor's Note: This article is part of a Startup Week content series brought to you by Chase for Business. Startup Week is celebration of entrepreneurs in cities around the globe. Chase for Business is everything a business needs in one place, from expert advice to valuable products and services.
Image Credit: Impact Hub Seattle Instagram page