Startup Cities: A List of Great Silicon Valley Alternatives

As well-established tech hubs are becoming pricier by the minute, companies have shifted focus to more affordable locations that provide the perfect scene to kick off a new business.

In the era of technology and startups, entrepreneurs and job seekers alike want to be where the action is. But what happens when some of the most sought-after areas such as San Francisco, New York City or the Silicon Valley become saturated and very expensive? These regions are still hotbeds for innovation, but the cost of living isn’t in everyone’s price range. Luckily, the U.S. tech scene offers numerous options that provide a talented labor pool ready to get to work, as well as an affordable cost of living.


One of the many options is Austin, home to more than 5,500 startups and to major players such as Google, Apple and Facebook. The Live Music Capital of the World is one of the top cities for startups in the U.S., and let’s not forget the perks of no income tax.

A secondary location for startups—also in the South—is Nashville, Tenn. Despite not being known as a major tech hub, the city’s high quality of life, healthy economy and lack of income tax has attracted businesses such as Lyft, Houzz and Eventbrite.


Moving further up north, Minneapolis is another legitimate alternative, boasting a wide array of tech jobs. Along with its Twin City, St. Paul, the metro is a highly livable region and home to startups including Bright Health, Gravie, Zipnosis and FlipGrid.

Focusing on more affordable tech clusters with a welcoming startup landscape, Columbus, Ohio, makes it onto the list with a skilled and educated workforce. A $277 million Smart City grant from the federal government is only going to add value and draw in more business. Root Insurance, Aver, Wiretap and Nikola Labs are some of the notable Columbus startups to keep an eye on.


Jumping over to Oregon, Portland’s well-established startup profile has been attracting companies and transforming the city into an authentic tech hub. Some of the best-funded startups in the city are Puppet, Ruby Receptionist and Cloudability. One of Portland’s special features is the strong support locals provide to businesses—Portlanders’ loyalty sometimes goes as far as boycotting out-of-town companies.

These are just some of the less expensive cities that make the perfect startup scene for companies looking for alternatives to long-standing tech hotspots. And it’s up to entrepreneurs to choose and decide which climate they prefer—because there is no shortage of a talented workforce ready to grab those tech jobs.