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How Tech startups are migrating inland

This is an article ‘How Tech startups are migrating inland’ by Marc Primo


According to one report by the Wall Street Journal, offshoring in software development is increasing due to U.S. enforcement of strict laws on the migration of highly-skilled professionals in the country. In turn, more tech companies are struggling to fill vital office positions on-site and resort to remote employment making the country’s bid to be the mecca for tech startups worldwide a long shot.



Such an argument stems from the complicated H1-B visas and how confusing their provisions are. Simply defined, an H-1B is a visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101 would allow local employers to acquire the services of foreign workers in specialty occupations temporarily.


However, there have been more untapped sources of both talent and opportunities that can drive growth here at home. Given that the pandemic paved the way for more remote work, hot spots such as New York and Silicon Valley are no longer the sole hubs for tech growth as startups are now reaching out to as far as Puerto Rico and Singapore for help.


Expanding startup ecosystems beyond Silicon Valley


According to a joint report from SaaS data and research company for private capital markets PitchBook and investment agency Revolution, investor interest is spreading towards more U.S. cities. Areas include North Carolina, Kansas, and the Bay Area, wherein the latter experienced a significant venture capital reduction of 30% last year. Such numbers have never been reflected in over a decade.


The same report also shows that even though 2021 is shaping up to be a record year for the venture capital industry, the number of active firms looking to form new local investments outside the Bay Area is currently on the rise. These observations mean that the growth of tech in more remote areas is opening up a prime gateway for more employment opportunities as well as other potential benefits.


Adapting a hybrid work environment


As new businesses are opening up, more employees are being called back to offices which naturally brings traffic to the streets along with frustrated and tired employees. One Texas A&M Transportation Institute report says that a typical employee spends nearly 120 hours commuting daily on the road. Many employers also found out that employees are more relaxed and satisfied off the road and working from home, particularly in the field of tech software. Post-pandemic, many tech startups have adapted a hybrid working environment for a safer and healthier approach that proves to retain top-notch talents.


Aside from the flexibility in work environments, employers also enjoy lower costs with how tech startups expand their operations into new inland areas with lower real estate and tax rates. With the savings they get from these cost-cutting measures, higher pay rates and affordable cost of living are being channeled for the benefit of top tech talents, which makes for a win-win situation for both companies and their employees.


Customized workforce


Another benefit that the tech expansion to more remote areas like Puerto Rico or Georgia can realize is the opportunity for employers to hire fresh, well-educated employees. Such remote inland areas are rich in universities that produce a crop of talented data scientists, software developers, and other tech-related vocations which startups can efficiently train and develop for the long term.


With the option to migrate to tech areas other than Silicon Valley, more startups can adopt a city’s culture and traditions and align them with their own company values for locally employed professionals to appreciate and embrace a sense of pride and ownership. Arguably, such tactics to promote company culture are great ideas for keeping everyone in tune with business goals.


As every tech professional knows, software development is an ever-changing field wherein constant collaboration is a must. Such a fact gives startup founders a clear insight that reducing attrition rates is essential if they want to get the jobs done faster.


In recent years, some tech startups that resort to outsourcing jobs have overcome challenges in developing software development specifications down to a tee. In any software ecosystem, having a team of UX designers, software specialists, and web developers on hand physically fosters better collaboration. Such a team effort can do well in producing data from the perspectives of end-users, stakeholders, and potential customers. With the expansion of tech ecosystems towards more inland regions, smaller tech startups can form customized teams without reaching out to offshore specialists.


The rise of inland tech hubs


Thanks to a recent survey by the Technology Councils of North America, more potential startup hubs are rising inland to create more employment opportunities for tech professionals both in and out of the country. Regarding employment growth, Houston, Orlando, New York, and Charlotte take the top four spots, while Tennessee, Idaho, Washington State, and Utah head the list of open job positions.


In the external U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, state-of-the-art tech innovations are also on the rise, luring more potential professionals to check out the island. Along with the inland hubs, Puerto Rico also shows a vibrant future of possible employment opportunities for its locals and a better quality of life in terms of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The best thing for employers is that they also enjoy lower costs while enabling themselves to focus on hiring more potential team members who will think twice about leaving their startup companies.


Such developments retain the country’s reputation as a global leader in nurturing startup incubators. Of course, not every startup is built for success or investment capital potential.


Still, with more tech hubs spreading like wildfire in the country, more innovators can embrace an ethos different from Silicon Valley. And as the pandemic triggered a 'great reset', more communities all over the country have embraced the true potential of tech innovations from startups. Such a reset, fortunately, drew more support from every local stakeholder – from business leaders and investors to local government agencies, resulting in new geographical clusters of opportunity.