Two Ideas for Economic Development: Lifestyle and Exits

TechCocktail10ChicagoAlmost every locale is interested in economic development. Intellectual property often results from economic development through new new inventions and creative works. Below are two ideas for economic development from venture capitalists.

Fed Wilson recently explained what the civil leaders looking to revitalize and attract new business need to do. Instead of focusing on tax incentives, connecting with local research universities, and providing startup capital, Fred says you need to first build a community that people, especially young people, want to live in:

I’ve been asked by civic leaders from places like Newark, Cleveland, Buffalo, and a number of other upstate NY cities that have suffered a similar fate how they can do the same thing. They all talk about tax incentives, connecting with local research universities, and providing startup capital. And I tell them that they are focusing on the wrong thing.

You have to lead with lifestyle. If you can’t make your city a place where the young mobile talent leaving college or grad school wants to go to start their career, meet someone, and build a life, all that other stuff doesn’t matter.

Read the rest of Fred’s post here.

Mark Cuban says that there’s “plenty of sources of capital everywhere.” But what Silicon Valley does best is create company exits:

Silicon Valley as a source of capital is no better or worse than any other big city. There are plenty of sources of capital everywhere. Yes, they may be better at writing 40mm dollar checks to startups (Color anyone ? ). But start up capital is not their secret sauce.

What Silicon Valley does better than anyone is create exits. They know how to get people who they have made money for to turn over a lot of that money to buy the companies they have invested in. They know how to put on a show to get a company to an IPO. They know how to go out and get hundreds of millions of dollars to bridge companies with 10s of millions in revenues to their IPO and more importantly to make sure the IPO happens.

So if you want your new tech corridor to play in the big leagues with Silicon Valley and its VCs , don’t stress about capital for entrepreneurs to create companies. Stress about capital that will buy provide exits for companies or that can get them to a liquidity creating IPO.

Read the rest of Mark’s post here.

Not everyone thinks exiting is a good thing, but knowing the option exists creates an incentive in the locale.

Photo credit Tech Cocktail under this creative commons license.

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