You shouldn’t. Not the whole thing anyway.
We moved our first company from Copenhagen to Silicon Valley back in 1997 - lock, stock and barrel. At that time there were not so many choices. Staying in Denmark with no venture capital, a miniscule market, and 6000 miles away from the center of our industry was not a viable choice.
Nowadays (startups) don’t need to move your whole company - you can “split the difference”. You can have a technology team in Copenhagen, an engineering team in Kyiv, and a commercial and executive presence in Palo Alto. We just couldn’t do that back in 1997.
Today you can cherry pick the best resources from the best locations.
When it comes to a commercial presence for a tech startup, you still can’t find a better place on the planet than Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is the epicenter of entrepreneurship. It has taken 60 or 70 years to become what it is today.
Privately, if not publicly, venture capitalists from Europe will admit there is no way they can offer what venture capital in the Valley provides. VCs with twenty – thirty years of experience working with startups, and networks into the biggest and most successful tech companies in the world. Add to that entrepreneurial know-how, 400 some odd venture firms, close to 50% of all US venture capital, specialized startup-friendly law firms and banks, boatloads of experienced entrepreneurial talent and better exit potential. Our first company, in Palo Alto, was acquired by Ericsson for 3 x what they would have paid for it back in Scandinavia (this according to Ericsson).
Then there is market access. You get a 300 million strong market with one language and one currency and a wealth of early adopters.
Conclusion: The place to learn entrepreneurship is Silicon Valley. It needn’t cost you more time and money to go to market here than it would to enter the German or UK markets. And you don’t need to move your whole company.
* This is the first in a series of blog postings about the top ten questions asked by international entrepreneurs about Silicon Valley. These are questions about setting up a presence, getting customers, raising venture money, recruiting a team, going to market, and more.