Advantages of being a foreigner in Silicon Valley

It seems like being a spanish entrepreneur in Silicon Valley is some kind of disadvantage, and of course, I'm not going to deny it, some times it is, investors look more for local companies and native entrepreneurs, because they have the contacts and the culture that a foreigner doesn't acquire so easily.

In return, we have two important advantages any American start up would kill for:
1. Talented human resources cost

Technical human resources in Silicon Valley are highly qualified but they are also extremely expensive, in some cases, the salary of a programmer could be more than three times higher, than his counterpart in Spain. This, raises enormously the costs of any start up where salaries are the only initial expenses. Ok, it might be easier to find capital in US, but costs of any start up there are 5 or 6 times higher than a spanish one, always talking about human resources.

It's true that it's not easy to find good programmers in Spain, but neither in Silicon Valley, but when you do it, the spanish are going to be much cheaper and, probably, equal in quality. You can still move to Silicon Valley to compete there, with the sales team or a small office, leaving the development team in Spain. 

The shortage of technical resources in the Valley causes the theft of staff between companies to become a very common practice, which makes even more costly to have the development team in US.

That's a competitive advantage in costs!


Curiously while I was writing this post, the spanish press has been pulling around with articles talking about the quality of spanish programmers:

The Twitter of my friend 


El Confidencial: ¿Are there good programmers in Spain for entrepreneurship? (spanish)
Enrique Dans: "Entrepreneurs and developers: shortening distance" (spanish)

2. Public capital of spain 

US companies don't get any grants or help from the government, not even a single dollar of public cash is used to promote entrepreneurship, it happens naturally. In Spain, and in Europe in general, it's different, in order to impulse the creation of employ and wellness, there are lots of public programs for technological start ups, even though, lately, with the real state crisis this helps have decreased. Still, governments give lots of public money in forms of loans with low interests and reduced payback  conditions and responsibilities to entrepreneurs. A Spanish company can combine public money with private capital and diversificate it's initial capital sources. Even more, public capital is a loan or a grant, so you don't have to give away your precious equity or talk about how to drive your company with the new investor.