- Are most of your partners and/or customers here? If you work with Salesforce, Facebook, Google, etc. … you should be in SF. You cannot built great partnerships remotely. Same if a plurality of your customers are here.
- Are you doing true enterprise sales — bigger ($100k+ deals) that require a true sales process? strongly suggest moving here. The talent base is much, much deeper. But you can sell a $19 a month product from anywhere with a good sales talent base (i.e., good colleges). Any major city. In fact, selling a cheap (e.g., up to $299/month) product from the Bay Area is probably a strategic disadvantage over the long run. It will probably put too much stress on your CAC if you have more than 10 or so SMB reps in the SF Bay Area, as you really go to scale. Early on it’s fine, though.
The cost of running a start-up in San Francisco is 2x Paris, London, almost anywhere. It’s really nuts. So at the end of the day, you should only move to SF if the value of those increased costs are much higher than 2x. So maybe if you can grow 30–50% faster by moving to SF, you should (the compounding rate of that overtime will much more than double the value of your business). But that’s hard to predict. So before you know for sure – when is it worth it? A few quick things to think about: