As young tech workers plan to flee the San Francisco Bay Area for a lower cost of living, one tech investor is betting on Pittsburgh to become the next big tech hub.
The former steel capital is more affordable than Silicon Valley, but it also boasts a rich talent pool.
Patrick McKenna, a tech investor, runs a nonprofit called One America Works that aims to bring high-tech companies to overlooked tech hubs like Pittsburgh.
“We like to say if it’s good enough for Google to go to Pittsburgh, isn’t it good enough for XYZ?” McKenna told Business Insider.
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At one time, tech workers sitting in cars along a San Francisco highway — returning home to apartments they could most likely only afford to rent — could look up to see a billboard bearing a proposal.
It read: “Own a home. Work in tech. Move to Pittsburgh.”
The former steel capital has reinvented itself in recent decades as a haven for tech companies seeking a rich talent pool in a more affordable market. Pittsburgh’s tech workforce grew 21% from 2012 to 2017, while major employers such as Google, Facebook, and Uber already have remote offices in the city. Still, it doesn’t have a reputation for cranking out startup unicorns or drawing venture capitalists.
Last year, an angel investor from Silicon Valley started a campaign to convince more tech employers to uproot for the old mill town. Patrick McKenna, who sold three companies before becoming a full-time investor, is betting on Pittsburgh to become one of the next big tech hubs, as places like the Bay Area leak young employees to other regions. His nonprofit works with local leaders to pique interest in the city.
It’s part of the startup playbook, McKenna said, for a fast-growing company to open a second office in a city like Phoenix, Denver, Austin, or Salt Lake City, to lower their operations costs. He believes more companies should look farther east.
“We like to say if it’s good enough for Google to go to Pittsburgh, isn’t it good enough for XYZ?” McKenna said.
Pittsburgh became a finalist for Amazon’s second headquarters for good reason. For starters, people who work there can generally afford to live there. The city has the highest rate of home ownership among the 40 largest metro areas in the United States. And the average rent for an apartment was about $1,280 in November — $2,500 less than an apartment in San Francisco, according to Rent Jungle.
Duolingo, which makes an app for learning languages, told Business Insider that having its headquarters in Pittsburgh is an advantage in recruiting.
“We’re getting just a good number of people who are just either moving from the Bay Area or just don’t want to go there to begin with, fresh out of college, because here you can get an apartment that’s pretty nice and you can just pay, I don’t know, a thousand bucks a month, and that is …read more
Source:: Business Insider