Eric, my cofounder, and I have been having a debate lately about whether or not we should do our startup in New York or San Francisco. I thought I’d share my first impressions, because Eric and I have had a significantly easier time getting meetings in New York than in San Francisco. My impression so far is that San Francisco/Silicon Valley investors only want to talk to you if you’re raising a round. Whereas New York investors are way more willing to talk to you, even if you’re not looking to raise money right away.
To give some background, my cofounder, Eric, wants to move to New York — he’s originally from the area. I love San Francisco and want to stay here. We’re not sure where we’ll end up yet, but we’re considering all possibilities. Our product is at a point now where we can start having meaningful meetings with investors we may want to work with in the future. We’re not looking to raise money yet, but we want to start building relationships and getting to know the investor landscape.
Eric and I have both been trying to get meetings. So far, we haven’t had a single meeting in San Francisco/Silicon Valley, and we’ve had about six phone calls in New York, with even more meetings lined up for a trip we’re making in early February.
My impression is that San Francisco/Silicon Valley investors get way more incoming investment possibilities than New York investors, making for a more rushed and formal investment process. In New York, the people we’ve spoken to are super excited to hear what we’re doing and super willing to make other introductions, even though they know we’re not looking to raise money. Whereas in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, every person in my network I’ve asked to do an introduction has told me it’s too early.
I believe there’s a few things going on here. First, I expect Eric and I come off as good people to bring to New York. We’ve each spent our entire professional career in the Valley, and I expect the New York community would love to have more Valley people. And second, all the meetings in the Valley that I’ve tried to get have been through extremely capable entrepreneurs that want me to avoid bad terms with an investor, urging me to wait as long as possible to get investment.
All said and done, Eric and I have lots of New York meetings lined up. And we have zero lined up in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. So far, New York is a better place to get investor introductions. Not what you’d expect, right?
For those of you reading that are entrepreneurs, I’d love to hear your take. I’m also open to any introductions you’d like to make ;).