We all know the story of how Jeff Bezos started Amazon out of his garage in 1994. Today, Amazon is one of the world’s largest companies, making it the ultimate startup success story. We have seen the same thing will Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and countless other billionaire entrepreneurs.
Such stories aren’t at all exclusive to Americans anymore. The startup dream has gone global and there are some compelling reasons why.
Let’s take a look at what’s causing the globalization of entrepreneurship.
Great ideas don’t just live in Silicon Valley
Look at any rankings of the most valuable startups in the world. You’ll see a list that includes companies from many different countries. Names like Uber and Airbnb are on there, of course, but there are plenty of success stories outside of America’s shores.
For example, Coupang, a South Korean e-commerce startup, is now worth $5 billion. Spotify, a Swedish music streaming service, is said to be worth between $11 and $13 billion. Clearly, you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley to realize the startup dream.
A key driver of the startup dream has been emerging markets. They are balancing the startup landscape. From Brazil to Vietnam, startups are arriving onto the scene every day and many are enjoying incredible success.
For instance, Bangalore is one of the world’s fastest-growing startup ecosystems. The city has produced the likes of Flipkart and Ola, among many others. Now, the city has developed a culture that enables entrepreneurs to efficiently generate and develop ideas, earn funding and support, and expand and scale the operation.
Similarly, Lagos has become a startup hub in Nigeria, thanks to its impressive talent base, large amount of investment, and improving infrastructure. The city is home to the likes of Konga, an online shopping platform, and Flutterwave, a payments platform.
Startup icons are everywhere
Everyone knows Mark Zuckerberg’s story but there are plenty of other startup icons from around the world. This has been crucial in inspiring others in those markets to try and achieve the startup dream.
Outside of America, there is no better example than Jack Ma—the founder of Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce platform. In 1995, on a trip to Seattle, Ma was shown the internet for the first time, and was fascinated. In 1999, he launched Alibaba and turned it into one of the world’s largest companies. Today, Jack Ma is the richest man in Asia.
The impact of Jack Ma’s success extends beyond just himself, the investors, and those who operate and use the platform. It’s also been an inspiration to others in China and around the world to go after their dreams.
Money flows to opportunities
There are 7.5 billion people in the world. Groundbreaking ideas are everywhere. Those with the capital in their hands understand this. They look for investment opportunities anywhere and everywhere because they need to sustain their own growth.
Sequoia Capital, arguably the world’s most successful venture capital firm, doesn’t just invest in Silicon Valley startups. The company looks for opportunities globally, because the leaders know the best ideas aren’t necessarily from the Bay Area. If you look at a current list of Sequoia’s investments, you’ll see companies like Kenshoo, an Israel-based online advertising company, and Nubank, a Brazilian financial services startup.
Other companies, such as Japan’s Softbank, are giving startups around the world the funds they need to take an idea and turn it into a global business. Now that Jack Ma has made it big with Alibaba, the ecommerce giant is investing in good ideas at home and abroad, such as Didi Chuxing, a China-based ride-hailing app, and Snapdeal, an Indian e-commerce company.
With capital being provided to worthy entrepreneurs, successful startups are arriving from all over the place. From meQasa, a Ghana-based real estate classifieds platform, to Petsy, an online marketplace for pet products in Mexico, the dream is alive and well in all corners of the globe.
Indeed, the ability of entrepreneurs to connect with investors and access capital is helping ensure quality ideas—no matter where they come from—are given a chance. This is changing the world.
A startup-filled world
Billion-dollar companies can be built from basically anywhere. That’s not an exaggeration. The current startup landscape is proving this to be true.
America will certainly continue to have its fair share of dominant startups, but so will the rest of the globe. That’s a wonderful thing for all of us.