The Six Best Cities for Startup Companies That Aren’t Silicon Valley

Location is a huge factor for all businesses with physical stores, regardless of the industry they belong to. Chances are, people are more likely to patronize a restaurant that’s near their homes than a restaurant of the same quality but is a three-hour drive away, even if the farther restaurant is cheaper. On the other hand, if you’re looking for potential employees who have specialized skills, you’re more likely to find them in a bustling city with a central business district than the less developed city next to it whose main export is affordable housing for that first city.

Corporations are smart about where they establish their HQ, and the same rule of location also applies to small businesses and startups. When it comes to start-up-friendly cities, Silicon Valley in California continues to be the popular go-to place for startups. However, unless your startup business deals in the tech and IT sector, you’re unlikely to find instant success there. These other cities in the US are also a good option for startup companies looking for a place where they’re more likely to thrive.


Source: Medium

Boulder, Colorado

Apart from Silicon Valley, Boulder, Colorado often tops the list as one of the best startup places since 2015. It’s not just the city of Boulder, as the cities and general population of Colorado makes it a good place for startups, but out of all the cities in the state, Boulder is arguably the best.

Because it is the home of many affluent residents, Boulder is filled with venture capital firms and potential investors. If you’re starting out a business that’s really new and not many people may be willing to patronize, selling in a wealthy city means people with more disposable income and are more likely to have money to spend on your business.

And while new startups may be daunted by the high amount of startup competitors already established in the area, those who can grab the opportunity will find themselves with many opportunities to expand their network and meet like-minded startup founders who can help improve their business.

Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware is one of the best small cities in America, Wilmington is actually the largest city in Delaware. Because it has the biggest population in the state, it is the hub for both large corporations and startups alike. Delaware has favorable business-friendly financial laws, making it the go-to center for business owners in the state and in neighboring states looking for better environments to start their business.

Because many businesses are flocking to the city, you’ll find no shortages of the industries thriving in the city. That’s why it has ranked sixth in the Top 10 Best States for Business according to And when it comes to consumers, startups will find plenty of potential customers, from local residents, to fellow startup owners, to tourists flocking to city looking for new ideas, products, or things to do in Wilmington.



Denver, Colorado

Another city from Colorado, Denver currently ranks fourth on Forbes’ list of rising cities for startups. With many major venture capital startups in the city finding significant success, it’s worth living there despite the fact that the cost of living and cost of doing business in the city is slightly higher than the national average.

If your business requires a highly-educated workforce, Denver has no shortage of college students. Nearly half the city’s population has a college degree. That’s not to say Denver lacks in skilled workers, as startups can also find workers that specialize in certain industries outside of a college education.  

Denver’s thriving environment for startups can be contributed to the fact that most of its talented workforce are homegrown, though people outside the city also flock to find better pastures in the city’s economy. When cities like Denver offer good work opportunities, successful startups, and diverse lifestyle choices, it’s no surprise that many of the country’s most talented college graduates and skilled workers are looking towards Denver.

Columbus, Ohio

Despite its location on the US map, Columbus is a city filled with opportunities for startups. Unlike Denver, Columbus’ cost of living and cost of doing business is below the national average. The city is saturated with venture capital firms, making it the highest opportunities for funds per capita compared to other cities in the United States.

Interested in creating a startup or finding a successful startup company to work for? You’ll have a better chance finding a startup in your field in these cities. While Silicon Valley remains the top of tech startups, don’t limit your sights on one city and consider all the thriving startup cities and what they have to offer.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.