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Best places for bootstrappers to live


Article: 10 best cities to launch a startup: “Access to funding, labor and the cost of living can make or break a new business. Based on a NerdWallet study, these 10 cities are the best in the country to launch a startup.”

Raleigh is #4. Just sayin’.


I looked all over the US for places to live that were tech-friendly and had a low cost of living, and North Carolina was right at the top. We very nearly moved there.


I surprised “with your parents” hasn’t been mentioned.


Silicon Valley’s Real Estate Crunch Is A Golden Opportunity For Other American Cities
“If you’re trying to bootstrap, being based in San Francisco is awful,” he said. “The leading cause of startup death is running out of money. Moving to a cheap city and doubling (or more!) your company’s runway will more than likely vastly increase your chances of eventual success.” – Why I’m Moving My Business From San Francisco to St. Louis

[quote=“danh, post:63, topic:354”]looked all over the US for places to live that were tech-friendly and had a low cost of living, and North Carolina was right at the top. We very nearly moved there.[/quote]I can’t say it’s low cost, more like moderate cost for the US. I do encourage people to visit Raleigh, Durham, and Carrboro (one can visit all three in a day) and check out the employment, tech, etc. ‘scene’ when considering where to live. Until you’re making so much that where you live is decided by your accountant, the RTP, NC area is worth a look.

Andreessen-Incubated Teleport Aims To Make Location Irrelevant For Mobile Workers
"This company, which was in stealth, put up a small teaser today. The idea is to help the globe’s knowledge workers find the jobs and places that maximize their take-home pay, or the difference between their paychecks and what they spend on housing, food and transport." http://teleport.org/


Excellent thread. I don’t get the startup scene / conferences / tech meetups thing too much. Are your customers startup owners or conference visitors? If not, I wouldn’t bother to choose a place that has these.

We are in rural Bulgaria. Nice and cheap to live, and we combine small scale homesteading with the IT business.The freedom that the affordable and calm lifestyle gives me here is priceless enough to not worry if I’ll ever make millions.


A lot of single founders complain about the personal and professional isolation that comes from working alone in their house all day.

In RTP, NC we have some meetups like the following: NSCoder Night - Raleigh - Weekly Hack Night This is a completely open, free-form, “just show up with a laptop (or a friend with a laptop) and hack on some Cocoa” meeting. There’s no agenda, and there’s sure to be a great mix of coding and shooting the breeze about all things geeky.


I’m based in Barcelona.


  • Great weather.
  • Beautiful city (architecture, museums, restaurants, tourist attractions, beach, communications…).
  • Increasing number of foreigners moving here.
  • Renting is more or less ok (i.e. 80 square meters, 3 bedrooms flat in the city center costs around $1.200/month).
  • Strong arts and graphic design industry.


  • Local customers are not specially open to new technology (I can compare that with other cities).
  • Buying a house is still expensive (i.e. 80 square meters, 3 bedrooms flat in the city center costs around $400.000).
  • Although Barcelona is better, Spain as a brand is not particularly well perceived.
  • Salaries are low if you have to work in a 9 to 5 job.


In February, I moved out to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to take part in the movement of location independent entrepreneurs out here.

It’s been absolutely incredible, one of the best experiences of my life.

Cost of Living
My co-founder and I are only pulling $1,500/mo right now from the company, and it’s my main source of income.

In most US cities, that’s not quite enough to live comfortably on without sacrificing on lifestyle (for me that includes nightlife and socializing).

Here, my entire cost of living is about $1,200/mo, and that includes rent with a maid 3x week to clean and do laundry ($300/mo, maid included), eating well (and healthy), a yoga membership ($25/mo), a motorbike ($50/mo), gym membership ($10/mo), cell/data plan ($3/mo).

Unbelievable. Given that our business is completely location independent, it’s almost financially irresponsible for me to live in the US right now.

@rfctr mentioned TropicalMBA in the second post. I’m on the ground in that community out here.

For those unfamiliar, the folks of TropicalMBA run a private community for location independent entrepreneurs called the Dynamite Circle.

Berlin, Prague, Chiang Mai, and Ho Chi Minh City are the most popular destinations amongst members in the DC right now, and in HCMC, there’s about 75-80 of us.

It’s amazing.

We have a GroupMe room where we all chat and coordinate get togethers, meet up for coworking from cafes, and shoot the breeze.

I can’t say enough about how refreshing this community is after living in entrepreneurial isolation in NYC and the 'burbs outside Washington DC.

Both those areas, like the rest of the US, is plagued with job culture - friends who work 9-5 and then happy hour and then go for broke Friday and Saturday nights and watch football on Sundays.

Good life. Note quite my style though.

Here in Saigon, on the other hand, I am for once part of a lifestyle majority. Almost 100 people here hustling, building, sharing ideas, and having fun.

Saigon is fun. It’s happening. I’m a city guy so I feed off the energy.

Great nightlife. Great parties. And it’s a great place to be young and single. I’ll leave that at that.

Also, the finer things: you can get a 45 minute head/shoulder massage on my block for like $3 USD.

Can you imagine how refreshing that is after spending a full day troubleshooting Android bugs and deploying Facebook ads through the maze that is Power Editor??

Basically, life is good in Vietnam. It’s not some far-away fantasy that Tim Ferris invented to sell to fools.

The lifestyle and benefits here are 100% real, and I expect that as more and more of the workforce grows internet-enabled and thus location independent, more and more people will begin take advantage of this sort of lifestyle/location arbitrage.


For the last 5 years, I’ve been based in Berlin during the summer and Gran Canaria (Spain) in winter.

Berlin is a incredible city to bootstrap a project. Renting is still low and there are a lot of meetups and activities.

In winter I move to Gran Canaria, where live is much cheaper and weather is really nice (22º C.). Besides, the island is full of digital nomads who came to work from there.


When you say Grand Canari is much cheaper, can you give some examples (rent, food, etc). Also, how is public transit there or is a vehicle needed? I’m sure you’ve come across this coworking space: http://www.thesurfoffice.com


I haven’t been keeping up with this thread, but it looks like Nomad List hasn’t been mentioned yet (I think it was just recently published). Might be a good resource: http://nomadlist.io/


Sure! The guy who’s managing The Surf Office is a very good friend of mine. His project is amazing.

Regarding Gran Canaria, I live in Las Palmas, the capital city (ca. 382,000 inhabitants). You can get a room in a shared flat for 250-300€, or a studio for 400-500€. A coffee or a tea is 1.20€. A dinner in a restaurant is 10-12€. Public transit is pretty good in the city center (0.85€ per ride), but I use my bike most of the time :slight_smile:


It looks like Raleigh can add Google Fiber (and a destination park) to its charms.


I will add the proximity to beta users was important to us.

But we make speech therapy software for the elderly and back in 95 it was tough to do a is test remotely (not that anyone was doing them in person… the name didn’t exist).

We live in Blacksburg, va which has great weather (give factor for me along with cost). And access to users for our newest software has been very challenging. Would be easier back in Portland, OR , WHERE we started.


Great post. How hot is the summer?


The Next Top 10 Cities For Tech Jobs

(Number 2) Raleigh, NC

As the home of a number of renowned educational institutions, Raleigh has emerged as the primary tech hub of the Southeast. With a lively tech industry, a historic downtown and a vast natural landscape, the city offers a comfortable and affordable mix of work resources and recreational activities.

Total Tech Jobs Open: 28,510
Top Five Tech Jobs: Infrastructure architect, design engineer, tooling engineer, java developer, and SQL developer
Major Colleges: North Carolina State, with University of North Carolina and Duke
Median Rent: $1,190
Recreation and Culture: Hiking, biking, the Capital Area Greenway, and a historic downtown


I know it’s not particularly ( or even remotely) affordable for most folks, but I really miss working in Santa Barbara. Used to live just 30 minutes down the road. Such a nice drive. Office on the beach. Sigh.

I’d need to 3x my income to live well there, though.


That’s Euros, right?


Exactly. Euros are the official currency.


I have recently moved to Riga (Latvia) from London (UK)

  1. Dead cheap (premium 5-bedroom apt in the very VERY center - old-town - 1.2k euros a month, but you better buy a beach house outside of the city)
  2. Great nature (sea, pine-tree forests etc) and low population density (no traffic jams on highways)
  3. Riga is still a real European capital: startup incubators, coworking-spaces, conferences, meetups… Last week I bumped into Bart Lorang!! (CEO of FullContact) - he was at a conference here in Riga, go figure… And like most EU capitals its old and charming - check the pic (not mine, just Googled it)