Why do the majority of successful startups come from the USA? Thread on Quora

Great majority of the most known in the world startups, beginning with Apple and ending with Pinterest, originate from the USA. Young entrepreneurs all over the world strive to repeat a Steve Job’s success, as well as Mark Zuckerberg’s and Kevin Systrom’s. So why does it happen like this? There was a pretty interesting discussion about this on Quora recently.

The most popular answer in a thread listed several reasons explaining why exactly do successful technological startups come out of an Uncle Sam lands.

Access to role models 

One CEO told that he had been watching with his own eyes Apple growing up from a startup to the world corporation. In his opinion if Apple could achieve such results then every body else could do it as well. 

Access to funding 

Even Apple required funding during a start-up period. Every startup needs funding as a matter of fact. There are really few of those who have managed to achieve the success and succeed in what they started without subsidization, depending only on  their own or friends’ and family’s financial resources. But in the USA even friends and family will back one in business most likely than in any other country, and that is thanks to the role models mentioned in the first entry. Everybody in the United States knows that if to start with $10 000 (for example, this is the sum GoPro started with) it may well be you’ll become a billion-dollar company’s owner someday. How many people in the world think in this way? Let’s admit not many. 

Access to business infrastructure 

Do you need a lawyer who knows how to help startup? There are a lot of them in the USA. Do you need an office for your start-up company? Plug-n-Play that houses more than 300 startups is at your service or you can find something like this. Do you need an advertising agency? There are lots of them in the USA. Do you need a mentor who is experienced in building companies and will be marketing a startup? There are hundreds or better thousands of them in the USA. Need a launch vehicle, like a conference? There are plenty of them in the USA. Do you search for CFO that will help to get a company ready for an IPO? You know where to find them.  And so on, and so forth. Certainly one can find all the things mentioned outside the USA but still, the highest concentration of them is to be found in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. 

Access to distribution 

In what way you are going to offer your services? Do you consider app stores? Such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook have. Who else? No one in the world has anything comparable with above listed. What about search engines and seo strategies for startups? Have you considered any? SEO for startups may be a really great idea because Internet marketing for startups provides unlimited possibilities. What about partnership abilities (for example you may need OpenTable to distribute your goods). All these possibilities for distribution and partnership you will most likely get in New York and San Francisco than in any other place. Needless to say that most of the world’s technological press is located in San Francisco and New York as well. 

Access to monetization capabilities 

Do you need an advertisement? New York is the place with lots of ads. No one else in the whole world will be able to deliver you the USA market that is still the richest one in the world (and it will be like this at least a couple more years, till China totally takes over). Of course there are different markets that provide monetization possibilities but they are not as profitable as the USA market and it is more difficult to build a worldwide brand with their help. 

Access to Talent 

It is most probable that a modern company will need a big data expert. Somebody  who knows how to push around a big Hadoop cluster, for example. Do you have such specialists in your country? Perhaps you do not, but guys like this are a dime a dozen in San Francisco area. Google and many other Silicon Valley technological companies (HP, Cisco, Sun, Yahoo) started at Stanford University, which continues to deliver high-grade engineering and business specialists. 

Access to practiced management 

Will you be able to find a CEO in your country who have managed a startup before? A person who knows how to solve the HR problems because he has the experience? A person who understand how to interact with the world’s top press? Or a person who knows how to get into the Larry Page’s office and to make a deal with Google? 

Access to production 

Oakley, General Motors, Ford, Boeing and many other companies make their products in the USA because it is much easier to find the people who know how to produce any particular things. Yes, Apple produces its devices in China but many Chinese manufacturing lines are targeted to American markets. 

Sheer serendipity 

It is quite usual practice to meet different startups executors of big companies in San Francisco while having a dinner or a cup of coffee. Nothing like this happens in other places all over the world. Most often accidental encounters like this were the point of departure for major business deals. It is hard to be so much involved in this kind of game elsewhere. 

The author of this answer, Robert Scoble, who works for Rackspace as a video podcast evangelist, considers that except of all the above listed things the success of the American startups depends on their founders’ belief that it will work. 

This belief makes people take the risks that are typical for the startups (and make their families and friends support them in time of need). Something like this happens really rare outside the USA. 

These nine entries were partially mentioned by other discussion participants. You may read other answers in a thread on Quora following the link.

 

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