I can say that I was one of the lucky ones. To be honest, though, things didn’t start off that well. Nevertheless, I never stopped educating myself, nor did I ever stop pursuing financial freedom – or whatever we could call it in today’s highly competitive world. One thing I have learned on my journey is that nothing in this world is as it seems.
I was born and grew up in America. I received an American education. Nothing too special, only a BA in psychology. And like so many other people I knew back then, I use what I learned in college to impress friends and acquaintances with how well I can read their minds – meaning, I never used my degree in a professional capacity.
If you were to ask me how in the world I got into the tech industry, I wouldn’t even know where to start. All I could say is that I kind of fell into it. Nevertheless, even as a child, I was always a nerd who talked my mom into buying me some tech gadget for the sole purpose of taking it apart – which left my mother peeved, to say the least.
At this moment in my life, after travelling around the world and getting my hands into most everything you can imagine, I realize there are so many wonderful places to develop your inner genius. Sometimes building a future in your own backyard just isn’t what is written for you. That’s what I learned. If you are really interested in launching a startup, I suggest you look into these top five places – you know, spread your wings a little.
Tel Aviv Is Getting China’s Attention
There is a sang as old as my great-grandpa’s bones: “Go where the money is.” And the money – at least the Chinese Yen – is headed straight for Tel Aviv, Israel. There are a number of factors as to why this is happening, one of them being Donald Trump. Trump has pretty much shown both countries policies that either scare them or tick them off.
What was once considered a place all about turning the desert into a paradise and kibbutz collectives (things myths are made up of) is now looked upon as “Startup Nation” and “Silicon Wadi.”
Israeli mothers back in the day would brag about how many of their children ended up doctors or scientists. Now, they’re bragging about how many of their children own and operate startups and the number of employees they have.
How much money has China invested into Israel? In 2016, while they scrapped $26.3 billion worth of previously announced deals from the United States, they invested $16.5 billion in Israel.
Vietnam Is the Hottest Place in Southeast Asia
For anyone who is a tad bit savvy in world politics and business news, it is clear that the world’s eyes are on Asia. I happen to live in Southeast Asia and, from what I see, a lot of Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are trying to make their countries more expat-friendly as to invite further investment in the region.
I have been around most parts of Southeast Asia. There is no point in me explaining in detail the reasons in this article, but Vietnam is by far the most expat friendly. Simply walk around and you’ll eventually bump into some Westerner who has launched some business or another there. Plus, obtaining a Vietnam visa for US citizens is easy as pie.
To show you how startups in Vietnam are comparing to their Western counterparts, just look at Cốc Cốc that rivals Google. In the first quarter of 2015, Cốc Cốc attracted $14 million. Then, KAfe Group, a Vietnam’s first fusion cafe chain, closed a $5,5 million deal to finance expansion. Then, adding to the trending food order app trend, Lozi received a 7-digit funding from Golden Gate Ventures and DesignOne Japan.
Go to The “Unicorn Factory” – Also Called Stockholm, Sweden
Any place referred to as the “unicorn factory” must be full of people dazed on some sort of opiate or they have stumbled upon magic fairy dust that creates real-life unicorns. Though, most likely it is because they have the reputation for being home to the world’s largest number of startups worth more than a billion dollars – that’s how rare they are (unicorns being not just rare, but non-existent).
Stockholm is a magnet for huge numbers in terms of outside investment. The fintech city boasts big-name investors from American Express Ventures and Intel Capital. One-fifth of Europe’s total fintech investment goes directly to Stockholm – a huge number. With a population of a little under one million and ranked Europe’s 20th largest city, they seem to be smashing the game.