Finding the best investment opportunities can be a challenge, and with ambitious tech startups cropping up all over the world, the next incredible idea could come from anywhere. Companies are increasingly finding original places to locate their offices, and new cities are building reputations as vibrant startup scenes. We know that innovation can’t be tied down to one single area, and our portfolio reflects that. In addition to the thriving tech community in Silicon Valley, we’ve invested in companies located in Portland, Seattle, New York, Tel Aviv, Boston and more. Here are the top 5 locations of our portfolio companies.
1) San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley
This should come as no surprise. The epicenter of innovation, disruption, and growth is the Bay Area, and 8 of our portfolio companies are headquartered in San Francisco or in South Bay cities such as Mountain View and Redwood City. San Francisco companies alone received 23 percent of the $47.3 billion in VC funds invested nationally in 2014. Companies located in the Bay Area play an enormous role in the cutting-edge and continuously developing technology industry, and have helped drive growth and conception of new companies that we’ve invested in. Having investments in a hotbed of development and research helps keep us ahead of the curve.
2) New York/New Jersey
Often referred to as “Silicon Alley”, New York City has emerged as one of the fastest-growing hubs for tech startups. Eight of our portfolio companies are located in New York City or New Jersey, and while proximity is a factor with Verizon Ventures being headquartered in New Jersey, this area is bursting with activity from new companies. With a combination of traditional American companies and the new technology industry, New York City has the best of both worlds. According to the Center for an Urban Future report, 1,000 startups have set up camp in New York City over the past 5 years, and often choose to be located near each other in order to foster a collaborative environment.
Similar to New York City, Boston is a traditional east coast powerhouse that has become home to a flurry of young companies in recent years. Three Verizon Ventures portfolio companies call Massachusetts home. Kinvey is located in Boston, and BL Healthcare and Newlans reside in nearby cities Foxboro and Action, respectively. Startups are drawn to the basic necessities that a big city like Boston provides – it’s compact, has convenient public transportation, and great restaurants. Additionally, prestigious universities like MIT, Harvard and Boston University produce top tech talent.
4) The Pacific Northwest
With Oregon being the top destination in the U.S. for people to move to in the last two years, and Seattle hosting offices for Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, and others, the Pacific Northwest continues to grow as a hub of culture and technological innovation. Our portfolio companies Glympse, Medio, and MobileRQ are all located in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle was recently ranked second behind Washington, D.C. on a list of U.S. cities with the most available computer science jobs, with 4,300 open positions. Established e-Commerce companies, lower cost of living (no income tax in Washington), and loyal employees make the Pacific Northwest an attractive option for startups.
One of our portfolio companies, Rounds Hangout, is headquartered in Israel, while 2 others (ConteXTream and Flash Networks) have opened offices there as well. Israel is known as “Startup Nation” for a reason – 2014 was the best year ever for Israeli startups, with 18 companies going public in 2014 (compared to only three in 2013) and exits worth about $15 billion. A few reasons for Israel’s startup success: Israel’s culture is one that encourages people to be less risk averse and more willing to take on the pressure that comes with operating a startup. Additionally, people tend to begin careers later in life after serving a required military service that prepares them for certain types of tech fields, and Israel offers world-class engineering schools.