We just released a simple tool for founders looking to join a startup incubation program as their stepping stone into Silicon Valley. Figuring out an affordable and commute-optimal location in San Francisco Bay Area is getting harder by the week, even for a few-months stay. Hope the Bay Area Teleport will help your research.

Last week I published a long form opinion post on Techcrunch, sharing some of the multi-location philosophy behind Teleport and arguing that Foreign Founders Should Look Beyond Silicon Valley. I hope you got a chance to read the entire thing to join the conversation, but one specific point raised there was:

As the structural issues of Silicon Valley intensify, I predict a mixed model of operating internationally will become a much more widespread practice among startups. That’s eventually the only way to solve the early stage startup paradox: you can’t afford to be in the Valley, but you can’t afford to not be in the Valley either.

Startups should be in the Valley to network, raise money, meet partners, get incubated or accelerated.

Among the many Twitter conversations and direct pings of feedback, there was an especially thoughtful addition from fellow foreign founder, Dhawal Mujumdar. In his response blog post he wrote:

However, I generally advise NOT moving to SF if you aren’t part of any established networks in the valley. To be successful in the Silicon Valley you need to be part of at least one: [...]

  1. Alumni Networks – You graduated from elite schools/universities like Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard. Lot of alumni of aforementioned schools have created lots of successful startups. And number of VCs have graduated from these schools.
  1. Mafia Networks – Mafia not in a literal sense. Mafia in valley parlance means being part of PayPal Mafia, Facebook Mafia, Google Mafia or pre-IPO employee of any successful unicorn of last 2 decades.
  1. Accelerator Networks – Accelerators like Y Combinator, Techstars, AngelPad etc. not only provide funding but also place you in the network of investors, founders and startups.

Indeed, for a newcomer to Silicon Valley who isn't lucky to be part of groups #1 or #2 yet, #3 is by far the most achievable way in. Start here: Teleport for Bay Area Incubators.