12 steps to a successful startup community

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post in TC (TECH CRUNCH) by Mark Suster (@msuster), a 2x entrepreneur, now VC at GRP Partners. He publishes more frequently over on his blog BothSidesoftheTable

Recently I wrote a post arguing to make the definition of a startup include morethan what Silicon Valley, fueled by Venture Capital return profiles, like to attach the word to.

Today I’d like to talk about what startup communities outside of Silicon Valley look like, how they emerge and what makes them take hold.


Most of what I think about startup communities came from mentorship by Brad Feld through hours of private discussion and debate.

You can now take advantage of this wisdom directly as Brad has now published it for everybody in a fantastic new book, “Startup Communities.”

Put simply, if you care about building a successful tech community outside Silicon Valley you should read this book. I will be ordering several copies for leaders in LA and will be helping to host Brad’s visit to our community later this year.

My views, influenced by watching Brad’s tireless efforts across the country, were first encapsulated in a post I wrote about Seattle titled, “A Few Key People Can Make a Huge Difference.” In that post I talked about how a few key people in any community can have an enormous impact on the fledgling success of the city or company. Think Fred Wilson, Tony Hsieh or Brad Feld.

Here are the components that I believe are important for success in any startup tech community (the full information is in the article)

1. A Strong Pool of Tech Founders 

2. Local Capital

3. Killer Events 

4. Access to Great Universities 

5. Motivated “Champions” 

6. Local Press / Websites / Organizational Tools

7. Alumni Outreach

8. Wins 

9. Recycled Capital

10. Second-Time Entrepreneurs

11. Ability To Attract a Pool of Engineers

12. Tent-pole Local Tech Companies 

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