Whether it’s acting, cooking, music, business or something else, Americans often feel the need to move to one of the coasts to catch their big break. But at least in business, that’s perception doesn't match reality anymore.
Fly-Over States Rule
The grass is indeed greener in some places, and that side in the Midwest. In 2013, $3.5 trillion of total US gross domestic product (GDP) came from this region. In fact, 22 percent of the total United States economy comes directly out of the Midwest.
The Midwest also has the resources necessary to recruit top talent, as well as to fund budding startups. In addition, Midwest universities award a quarter of all computer science degrees, and 150 of Forbes 500 companies are located in the region.
It's All About Venture Capital
For those who don’t know, venture capital firms are the lifeblood of startups. Without venture capital firms, startups would not exist in the current model that allows them to be so successful so quickly.
Essentially startups go to venture capital firms for investment funding, along with managerial and technical expertise. VC firms hope to make a huge return on their investment further down the road in exchange for financial support.
The most successful venture capital firm is Sequoia Capital, which made early investments in companies like Apple, Google, Instagram, YouTube and many more.
Until very recently, if you wanted to get your startup funded by a venture capital firm like Sequoia, you had to go to one of the big cities on the East or West coasts, ideally to New York City or San Francisco.
Now there are more and more venture capital firms popping up in cities all around the country.
The Future of Startups
If venture capital firms were located throughout the country a decade or two ago perhaps the founders of huge companies like Google, Amazon and Twitter would have stayed in their hometowns.
Wouldn’t it be great if budding entrepreneurs could look at places like Lansing, Mich. (hometown of Google founder, Larry Page) or St. Louis, Mo. (hometown of Twitter founder Jack) and see them as places for potential success? Well, now they can.
In 2013, Mark Kvamme, an early Apple employee and an ex-board member of Sequoia Capital, founded Drive Capital in Columbus, Ohio.
Another startup accelerator called The Brandery was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2010. Some big business brass, many of which are former high-ranking employees at Procter & Gamble, back the Brandery.
The future of startups throughout the Midwest and other non-coastal regions of the United States is extremely bright.
For startups and entrepreneurs, the grass truly is greener in America's heartland. Now we just have to wait for it to grow.
However, in the meantime check out the infographic below to see where the most famous modern entrepreneurs got their starts, and where the best places to establish a startup today are located.