Can the entire enterprise of startup building, the landscape of Silicon Valley itself, be recreated?
It’s already been done.
“Everything I did to grow was dependent on a drive to learn: about myself, the needs of an organization, and how to maintain its growth. My path to this point has been marked by a certain degree of spontaneity.”
Zayd Ali serves as CEO of Valley. As the rise of nomadic living, foreign tech talent, and remote work rises, the significance of residing in Silicon Valley decreases. The startup communities, cash, and talent that were previously exclusive to this place have since expanded throughout the world. While this has leveled access to opportunities, made the ecosystem more friendly, and made it easier to invest in or expand a firm, it has also caused the ecosystem to become more detached than ever before. Valley is constructing a digital infrastructure that will connect these silos and enable anyone with an internet connection to access Silicon Valley.
“I saw that there were people capable of building companies everywhere… but taking the next step to building a venture-backed company requires a lot more than just relying on yourself. You need to attract talent and capital. But the majority of builders aren’t in areas or don’t have the networks which allow them to be discovered by those who can help them in this company-building journey… the natural progression is that Silicon Valley [should move] to everywhere – every city has people capable of building incredible companies. In order to allow for the natural expansion of Silicon Valley, you need the infrastructure to allow it to exist. So my co-founder and I embarked on the journey of building a digital Silicon Valley – Valley. We began building and raised our first round of venture from the investors in Uber, Robinhood, Calm – Jason Calacanis, and Antler – the largest pre-seed fund in the world.”
Valley is a digital infrastructure company that seeks to bridge the gap between startup communities, capital, and talent from all corners of the globe. The CEO of Valley, Zayd Ali, has a unique background that has informed the creation of this platform. Zayd is a serial entrepreneur who sold his first startup at the age of 19 for a seven-figure deal. After this achievement, he enrolled in Tulane University, but quickly realized that he needed more and dropped out for a semester to focus on starting Valley, which was originally called FISH. Zayd is currently building Valley while also studying at Columbia University in New York.
The concept behind Valley is rooted in the belief that entrepreneurs can start and build great companies from anywhere, as long as they have access to networks and resources that can help them grow. This idea is becoming increasingly relevant as the innovation economy continues to expand and evolve. In the past five years alone, there has been a 600% increase in venture dollars flowing between the coasts, and over 170 cities now have at least one unicorn (startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more). The rise of nomadic life, international tech talent, and distributed work has also contributed to the diminishing importance of being physically located in Silicon Valley. The startup communities, capital, and talent that were once unique to this location have spread across the globe, leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs and making it easier for them to access opportunities and resources.
However, this global expansion has also led to a disconnection between different startup communities, making it harder for founders to access the networks and resources they need to succeed. This is where Valley comes in. The company is building a digital infrastructure that allows anyone with an internet connection to tap into Silicon Valley-like resources, regardless of their physical location. Valley believes that a social layer is critical for the growth and success of the innovation economy, as it allows founders and investors to connect and collaborate in a way that was previously only possible in Silicon Valley. By providing easy access to these connections and resources, Valley is helping to create a more inclusive and welcoming ecosystem for entrepreneurs around the world.
Five years from now, where will Valley be?
“Our platform will encompass the whole early-stage funding sector. On Valley, you will find, engage, discuss, vote, and invest in early-stage startups from around the world.”
In addition to being featured on CNN Business, NBC, ABC, FOX, and Marketwatch, Zayd Ali is the President and Chief Operating Officer of a variety of charity organizations and the recipient of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and the Points of Light Award.