What are the best cities around the world for travel tech startups?
Choosing a city to base your travel tech startup can be tough. You want plenty of smart developers as a talent pool. You also want affordable rental space.
Proximity to a well-connected airport can be vital, too. Oh, and the small matter of access to local funding programmes and, if you’re really lucky, plenty of cash-wielding investors.
“If you look at a list of US cities sorted by population, the number of successful startups per capita varies by orders of magnitude. Somehow it’s as if most places were sprayed with startupicide.”
Zoltan Acs, director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy at George Mason University in Virginia has found something similar while studying US government data on small business survivorship.
Acs says start-ups are more likely to survive, on average, in cities with many other startups.
Below, find our short-list of the best cities to set up a travel tech startup, in alphabetical order:
Pros: The savviest city in the second biggest country on earth, home to not only countless call centers but a pool of highly qualified engineers, programmers and, increasingly, investors.
Cons: Non-tech infrastructure, such as transportation and other basic services, plus regular government interference in business protocols. As ex-Yahoo exec Sharad Sharma also says: there is no climate of respecting failure.
Pros: Enough digital startups for locals to start talking about “Silicon Allee”. Magnet for Europe’s most creatively minded youth, with 150,000 university students.
Cons: Is not a hub (yet) on the global air route networks, also has to fight against its noisier, British rival.
Pros: Lower cost of workspace and utilities than many other US metropolitan areas. Relative lack of competition for talent pool from MIT and other area universities.
Cons: Reasonably far from the venture capital social circle.
Pros: Creation of a government-subsidized tech hub in a former Olympic venue post 2012 may lead to competitive pricing with Shoreditch’s vaunted TechCity. Good location time-zone-wise to appeal to markets in both Asia and the Western Hemisphere.
Cons: Economic turbulence in the local economy is possible in the near-term due to struggle’s in the city’s largest industry, finance.
Pros: Local players have strong technical teams. Being local can give a deep understanding of local suppliers, as Tnooz has noted before. High internet penetration among local market and new payment methods.
Cons: Moving money in and out of the country can be sluggish.
6. New York City
Pros: Closeness to the the beating heart of American finance. For a who-knows-whom industry, it helps to be known locally.
Cons: Cost of renting space and paying tax can be outrageous.
7. San Francisco
Pros: The most optimistic city in possibly the most optimistic country in the world, probably because it has the highest number of thriving start-ups per capita on earth. The optimism can be infectious and provide the pep needed to survive the dark days of starting a company.
Cons: An echo chamber of ideas. You may end up creating products and services to appeal to the latest fad among the locals instead of to your target market elsewhere in the world.
Pros: Increasing openness to the tech scene, thanks to the growth of the Le Web conference and the last government’s creation of beneficial rates and paperwork status for entrepreneurs.
Cons: Endless calls to monopolies and state run institutions to set up basic services. Having to constantly explain why you don’t have a normal job at a normal company.
Pros: Large supply of skilled labor. The local population has embraced next-generation technology faster than much of the rest of the world, allowing for helpful local test cases for new products and services.
Cons: The city state isn’t politically liberalized.
Pros: Sunshine and a relatively strong economy. Three times as many international destination reachable by the local airport than rival Australian city Melbourne. Being within only a couple of time zones of 60% of the world’s population.
Cons: Technical talent pool said not to be as large as elsewhere in APAC.
We’re the first to admit that none of the factors we mentioned above are set in stone. As travel technology changes, so does the list of cities that are the best for setting up shop.
But the best cities adapt and change like their residents. The worst kill newborn companies.
Pick your top three cities:[poll id=”14″]
If we have missed a city, tell us about it in the comments below…
NB: Modern city at night image via Shutterstock.
Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.