Which city will the Silicon Valley be in Indonesia

Silicon Valley is out

End of the day in downtown Tampa. Florian Reike leans casually on the railing of the waterfront promenade and squints happily in the sun. "For me, that's quality of life," says the 22-year-old, taking a long sip from his beer bottle. "After work, I don't want to be stuck in traffic for two hours before I'm home - as is common in Silicon Valley."

Growing up in Detmold in North Rhine-Westphalia, Reike and two friends founded a company a year ago that offers blockchain models for companies. Advanced Blockchain AG is currently valued at around 25 million euros on the Düsseldorf Stock Exchange. Reason enough for the entrepreneurs to expand their business into the American market. When looking for a location, however, they made a conscious decision against the technology stronghold of Silicon Valley. "Tampa is a lot cheaper than Silicon Valley," says Reike. "Not only is office and living space cheaper here, talent is also easier and cheaper to get here."

Startups compete against Facebook, Google and Apple

The three young entrepreneurs received help from Hamburg-born Dieter Kondek. He supports start-ups with his company "Rocket Lounge" by strategically placing them on the American market and bringing them into contact with business partners and investors. Initially, he was active in Silicon Valley himself, but has since advised young founders against it. "Competition in Silicon Valley is not between start-ups and start-ups. The competition in Silicon Valley is between startups and Facebook, Google and Apple, ”he says. Start-ups just couldn't keep up with that.

Haight Ashbury in San Francisco was once a sought-after "alternative" place to live. Today a two-room apartment here costs about $ 5,000 a month.

High rental prices, a lot of traffic, the feeling of being the little fish in the big pond - these are just a few reasons why company founders are turning away from Silicon Valley. San Francisco lost more residents than any other city in the United States in the last quarter of last year. This is proven by data from the real estate company RedFin. As an alternative to Silicon Valley, Florida has proven to be a good choice for many startups. According to state statistics, Florida is in the top five fastest growing states in the United States.

Quality of life instead of an address in Silicon Valley

"I think the most important thing in life is a good balance between life and work," says Simone Tieber with an American accent. She emigrated from Dresden to the USA 25 years ago. Ten years later, she started her own graphic design company in Tampa. "I like to have the freedom to take a long lunch break, to sit in the sun or to take a quick trip to the beach."

The Swiss entrepreneur Peter Dobler agrees: "It is the end of March, we are sitting here in an open park, this year it is even unusually cold with 24 degrees. Normally we would be outside by boat by now." But there were also business reasons for him to set up his consulting company in Florida. "Every business in Silicon Valley is a retail business. Tampa is much more business-to-business," he says. "My company has no end customers as customers, my customers are all other businesses."

Florida is known as the "retirees paradise". If the current trend continues, there will soon be more young people on fuller beaches.

From retired town to millennial magnet

Labor market experts have been observing this need for a high quality of life for a while. The City of Tampa saw this development as an opportunity for itself. Once known as the retiree town, city projections now assume that people between 18 and 35 will make up half of the workforce in Tampa in two years' time.

"It was clear to me that if we didn't create a place where the next generation would like to be, that we would then become a third or fourth grade city," says Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He has set himself the goal of making the city as attractive as possible for young entrepreneurs. "I don't have much time left," he says, pointing to a large clock in his conference room that counts down the time. Another 369 days, eight hours, 44 minutes and 35 seconds. "I want Tampa to create the jobs of the future, not the past."

Tampa as the new high-tech mecca? Wait. In any case, the city on the west coast of the Sunshine State is prepared.

Investors are betting on Florida

Florida is also becoming more and more interesting for investors. Billionaire Jeff Vinik has bought a large part of downtown Tampa in partnership with Bill Gates' investment firm. He now wants to create office and leisure facilities there in order to participate in the upswing in the city. "Five years from now, Tampa will be unrecognizable," he said at an innovation conference in his ice hockey team's arena. "We're creating a unique business environment that makes Tampa the perfect place for founders and their companies."

In any case, Florian Reike is sure that he will not regret coming to Florida. His goal is to become the next Facebook or Google with his 35-man company. "Maybe Florida will soon become the next Silicon Valley," he says with a wink.