History proves that disruptive companies emerge from crises. Some of the biggest players in tech, including Uber, Airbnb, and Square, were built in San Francisco during the last financial crisis. Coming out of the current economic downturn, we should expect to see (and are already seeing) an explosion of entrepreneurial activity–and not just in the Bay Area, but across the country. We can be sure that the next breakout tech company is being built today somewhere, and by most indications, it’s just as likely in the Heartland as Silicon Valley. 

According to data from the U.S. Census, Americans set an all-time record of new business applications in 2021–specifically ones that were likely to employ others. But the surge doesn’t stop there. New data shows that business creation has been plateauing at a much higher level than pre-pandemic, with over 5 million businesses created in the US last year. On average, that’s almost 14,000 companies popping up every day in 2022!

As companies like Meta, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft lay off thousands of workers, their highly skilled alumni are flooding the market. Although Ex-Googlers weren’t happy with the “cold” way they were notified of layoffs, they may have been pleasantly surprised by their severance packages. For example, Google is paying 16 weeks of severance, plus 2022 bonuses, giving aspiring entrepreneurs runway to pursue business ideas and take risks.

With less urgency to find a new job and 3 years of remote work experience to draw from, these Big Tech alumni may be reevaluating their future. As remote flexibility, shorter workweeks, and a better quality of life take priority, many tech workers are joining smaller companies, freelancing, or even starting their own businesses. But where will new entrepreneurs choose to set up shop?

Funding and talent are on the move and, in some cases, even out of physical places altogether. One of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture firms, Andreessen Horowitz, announced the location of its new headquarters: “the cloud.”

The pandemic significantly accelerated the shift of venture capital, a critical indicator of future success, as Silicon Valley’s share of VC count dropped below 20% in 2021. And according to Crunchbase, the rebalancing continued in 2022 with a 40% drop in venture in California, New York and Massachusetts and increased traction in emerging venture destinations of Texas, Florida and North Carolina.

This movement out of the traditional tech hubs combined with an increasingly remote workforce leads me to conclude that the next Uber, Airbnb and Square is likely being built today in one of the new tech cities around the country – in places like Austin, Atlanta, and Columbus.

Read more about the repositioning of tech in this edition of The Mid-Point.

Inside this issue

  • Over 5 Million New US Startups Show Covid-Era Boom Has Legs
  • What Are Top Investors Looking for During a Downturn?
  • In the Wake of Massive Layoffs, Tech Workers Reconsider Their Future
  • New Episode of Founder Friday: Will Kaigler, Founder & CEO at sovaSage
  • Connecting the Coasts Event on 4/4 in Cleveland: Curious Where Tech Is Headed? Join Us to Find Out!
2022 Year in Review

Bound at home at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of Americans started a business either out of necessity after losing their jobs or because remote work opened up opportunities. Following the initial spike in 2020, business creation has been plateauing at a much higher level than pre-pandemic, the Census numbers show. More than 5 million businesses were created in the US last year, a sign that the entrepreneurship boom spawned by the pandemic may be long lasting. Read More

Pittsburgh on track for standout VC year

Major tech companies like Uber, Spotify, Airbnb, and Square were all founded during the last financial crisis proving that great businesses can come from a downturn. We asked investors with experience investing in downturns where they see opportunity. “When the tide rolls out, all that’s left are the batshit crazy people that want to start a company under any circumstances, and those are the people you want to invest in,” said Rob Hayes, a venture capitalist at First Round Capital who invested $510,000 in Uber’s seed financing round. Read More

Electric Battery Company Building $2.6B Plant in Atlanta

Where tech workers head now could reshape the industry for decades to come. “Someone’s loss is another’s gain,” said Dan Ives, a managing director at Wedbush Securities. Highly skilled developers and software engineers won’t stay unemployed for long, Ives said, and the companies that snap them up will probably be those at the forefront of exciting new sectors such as artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, cloud storage and cybersecurity. “I think it’s a repositioning of tech.” Read More

Founder Friday with Will Kaigler: Founder & CEO of SovaSage

Will is a serial entrepreneur and has launched 4 successful tech companies. His fourth venture, sovaSage, is a digital healthcare platform used to treat patients with sleep apnea and other chronic conditions. In this week’s episode, Will offers solid advice on solving customers’ problems and adapting to risk. We also discuss distributed teams and the power of building a trust network, and Will shares insight on overcoming hardship. Watch the interview here.

Curious Where Tech Is Headed? Come to Cleveland to Find Out!

Connecting the Coasts to the Heartland, with Steve Case and Comeback Capital

April 4th, 2023  |  Cleveland, OH

Founders are starting everywhere! Meet us in Cleveland for panels, pitch competitions, and keynote speaker Steve Case discussing his new book “The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream.” For details and registration, Click Here.