By Geoff Allan, MD at Partners for Growth
Silicon Valley has a long history at the center of the technology world, synonymous with innovation and opportunity. With good reason, the educational, talent, capital, and geographical opportunities the region presents continue to attract some of the world’s sharpest and most ambitious people. Those factors have made the region a well-known, go-to starting place to build a large technology business.
A founder needs several things when building a company – vision to see the future and grit to will the dream to reality, charisma, and capability to attract, hire, and retain some of the most brilliant folks on earth from the best universities in the world, available and flexible capital comfortable with risk, operational clear-headedness and managerial intelligence to run a growing company successfully. Nothing is certain, and nothing is guaranteed. While it has its own long list of faults, Silicon Valley has traditionally provided one of the best landscapes globally to optimize chances for success.
But the technology landscape has changed, and the cities where founders choose to build their businesses have changed. Successful companies are created anywhere. Traditional guardrails are gone, and limitations are technological, practical, and operational, as opposed to geographical.
Since our founding 20 years ago as a Bay Area-based debt capital investor, PFG has seen the technology landscape evolve and decentralize. But our focus is unchanged – we partner with strong businesses where our capital helps companies reach their next milestone. We focus on the strength of the underlying business and founder/management teams, as opposed to the investor names on the cap table. As a firm, we aim to support companies in their growth as long-term partners.
While Silicon Valley remains a beacon, new tech hubs are flourishing nationwide. Miami, Austin, Boston, Chicago, and Denver are established cities with rich grounds for tech innovation. Beyond these more publicized hubs, dozens of cities across the U.S. are foundations for innovation and entrepreneurship. These regions offer advantages, including strong pools of talent from local universities, diverse perspectives, cost of living advantages, and, in some cases, local government incentives. This shift expands and democratizes the tech landscape for startups and entrepreneurs.
While effective, the traditional venture capital model isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for scaling a company. Go broke or go home, and returning the investor’s fund on a single investment does not match every company’s situation and is not a realistic expectation for every business. Over our history, PFG has found that a compelling product offering, strong growth path, and solid underlying economics provide the basis for helping companies achieve their growth plans.
Today, we see a surge in alternative financing routes that cater to varied business models and growth stages. Flexible term debt, recurring revenue and non-borrowing-based lines of credit, milestone-based funding, acquisition credit facilities, revenue-based financing, and convertibles offer flexibility for startups depending on need. Additionally, the growth of fintech businesses providing financial services and credit to underserved segments globally is a growth area PFG continues to support. Our tailored approach allows us to partner with companies worldwide, regardless of location.
Remote options have redefined work generally and geographical constraints. Companies are no longer bound to a handful of traditional hotspots for talent. This shift has broadened the talent pool but also reduced operational costs. A distributed workforce can expand talent options and capabilities, provide diverse perspectives, and drive further innovations. It’s also reduced the importance of a founder’s decision on location choice to build her business.
For example, PFG partnered with Miami-based Taxfyle, a business making taxes simpler and more efficient for SMBs nationwide, as it continues its rapid growth. We supported companies like Engrain of Denver, CO, improving apartment management options, Divvy Dose of Moline, IL, before it brought on its first institutional capital, Stormwind of Scottsdale, AZ, as it supports accessible corporate education, and RetailPro of Folson, CA, with robust software solutions for prime retailers.
These companies are writing their own success stories outside the Silicon Valley narrative.
The U.S. tech landscape is more dynamic than ever. The emergence of new tech ecosystems, diverse funding sources, strategic collaborations, and work flexibility are leveling the playing field. At PFG, we’re committed to supporting tech companies as they navigate these new paths.
We would love to hear from you if you’re exploring growth opportunities beyond conventional equity routes. We’re happy to discuss how PFG can support your journey and redefine the future of tech in the U.S.