Every startup community needs an entrepreneurial center of gravity

President Obama talks with Joshua Baer in a visit to Capital Factory in Austin

Joshua Baer, an entrepreneur, investor and community builder in Austin, Texas, USA refers to Capital Factory, the coworking space/accelerator/event venue that he co-founded as the community’s “entrepreneurial center of gravity.”

In science, a center of gravity is the place in which the weight of an object is concentrated, or, the point where it rotates. I love that concept. Its something that every startup community needs because it facilitates both proximity and density.

A startup community’s center of gravity is where cofounders meet each other. It’s where angels find investment opportunities. It’s where startups meet journalists and serendipitously get PR. It’s where people who just moved to town go to meet local entrepreneurs.

Baer talked about this in a recent interview about Capital Factory, “Everywhere you go, people are working on tech startups. They’re thinking about tech startups. There are investors and press and government officials and other people coming through to meet with the startups, and it’s a community center where there are meetups and events and classes and all kinds of other things going on to support that.”

Proximity to others is one part. Density is the other.

“I feel like one of the major things that [Silicon Valley has] going is density. It’s that everyone there is focused on startups and technology and thinking about the same things, and you go to a Starbucks and there’s somebody pitching a VC and somebody writing on the back of a napkin and somebody else meeting a cofounder. And so, in many ways what we’ve done is recreate our own little Silicon Valley here in Austin, where we have 50,000 square feet of startups right in the middle of downtown, and when you come here, it’s like being in Silicon Valley”, said Baer in the same interview.

Density is a key component that’s missing in many startup communities. Without it you don’t have the energy, buzz and fast-idea generation that comes from entrepreneurs, developers, innovators running into each other at high rates of speed. It’s density that leads to the “Valley-like serendipitous moments” that PandoDaily founder/editor-in-chief Sarah Lacy identified as crucial to developed startup scenes years ago. “You know, stuff like: Oh, hey! I haven’t seen you in forever! You’re starting a company? OMG I know an angel investor who’s really into that space! etc.”

The place where the weight of your startup community is concentrated, the point where your ecosystem rotates. Proximity + density = your entrepreneurial center of gravity.

Geoff Wood is the COO of Startup Genome and a community builder in Des Moines, IA, USA. He recently wrote a post about Des Moines’ entrepreneurial center of gravity: StartupCity.

Photo Credit: capitalfactory.com

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