Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City
An essential guide to building supportive entrepreneurial communities"Startup communities" are popping up everywhere, from cities like Boulder to Boston and even in countries such as Iceland. These types of entrepreneurial ecosystems are driving innovation and small business energy. Startup Communities documents the buzz, strategy, long-term perspective, and dynamics of building communities of entrepreneurs who can feed off of each other's talent, creativity, and support.
Based on more than twenty years of Boulder-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist Brad Feld's experience in the field?as well as contributions from other innovative startup communities?this reliable resource skillfully explores what it takes to create an entrepreneurial community in any city, at any time. Along the way, it offers valuable insights into increasing the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by multiplying connections among entrepreneurs and mentors, improving access to entrepreneurial education, and much more.
- Details the four critical principles needed to form a sustainable startup community
- Perfect for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists seeking fresh ideas and new opportunities
- Written by Brad Feld, a thought-leader in this field who has been an early-stage investor and successful entrepreneur for more than twenty years
Engaging and informative, this practical guide not only shows you how startup communities work, but it also shows you how to make them work anywhere in the world.
years. These entrepreneurs are still involved, and you can expect them to continue to lead for the foreseeable future. As Mark Solon asserts, the magic comes from a few dozen entrepreneurs deciding that the success of the greater startup community is worth their investment of time and energy. 19 c02.indd 19 29/08/12 3:16 PM c02.indd 20 29/08/12 3:16 PM Chapter Three Principles of a Vibrant Startup Community N ow that you’ve had an introduction to Boulder and its history from my point
contribute to the local characteristics of Boston. However, what prevents a Boston-based company from expanding to another city or picking up and moving to the Bay Area, like the famous examples of Facebook and Dropbox? Nothing! And that’s the beauty of it—this permeability of boundaries requires each community to continue to improve if it wants to keep the best companies local. This applies to movement within cities. One of Boulder’s weaknesses, which I’ll discuss later, is lack of office space.
Finally, with the help of Paul Kedrosky of the Kauffman Foundation, I’ll explore some common myths about startup communities. I’ll finish with a few examples of how to get started, from Iceland, Omaha, and the Startup America Partnership, leaving you with the belief that you can create a vibrant startup community anywhere in the world. Additional Materials Startup Communities is the first of several books in the Startup Revolution series. The Startup Revolution website (http://startuprev.com)
suggests something, the immediate reaction is to start asking questions and try to figure out why it won’t work. In a network, the opposite approach often happens. When someone suggests something, just respond with, “Awesome—go do it.” They either will or they won’t. You’ll recognize this as being similar to the approach of giving people assignments. You get a natural filtering process. If someone doesn’t move forward with an idea, no time was wasted. If they do, then the results appear and often
taking action along this dimension. Space Every rapidly growing startup struggles with space. When you are a company of three people, you can easily figure it out. A spare bedroom, coffee shops, co-working spaces, and the dark corner of a friend’s office are all good places to start. By the time you get to 10 people, you are now paying a landlord rent. If you have rapid growth, you quickly run out of space, have to sublease your existing space (which can be even more complicated if you are