Startups are important for a variety of reasons. Above all, they drive innovation and progress by bringing new ideas and technologies to market. They also create jobs and stimulate economic growth, especially in the early stages of a business when it is growing rapidly and hiring new employees. In addition to their economic impact, startups also have the potential to disrupt traditional industries and challenge the status quo, leading to increased competition and improved products and services for consumers. Additionally, startups often focus on sustainability and social impact, which can lead to positive change in areas such as the environment, health, and education.
“There was no clairvoyant vision or notion that I had to take certain steps. Everything I did to grow was based on a desire to learn – to learn about myself, the needs of an organization, and how to sustain growth properly. There is a certain improvisation that characterizes my journey so far.
Zayd Ali is currently CEO of Valley. As the rise of nomadic living, international tech talent, and distributed work accelerates, the importance of being in Silicon Valley diminishes. The startup communities, capital, and talent once unique to this location have spread around the world. While this has leveled access to opportunities, made the ecosystem more welcoming, and made it easier to invest or grow a business, it has led to the ecosystem becoming more disconnected than ever. Valley is building the digital infrastructure to connect these silos and allow anyone with an internet connection to access Silicon Valley.
“I’ve seen that there are people who can build businesses everywhere…but taking the next step to building a venture-backed business takes a lot more than just relying on yourself. You need to attract talent and capital. But the majority of builders aren’t in the areas or don’t have the networks that allow them to be discovered by those who can help them on this journey of building a business… the natural progression is that Silicon Valley [should move] everywhere – every city has people who can build amazing businesses. In order for Silicon Valley to expand naturally, you need the infrastructure to allow it to exist. My co-founder and I therefore embarked on the adventure of building a digital Silicon Valley – Valley. We started building and raising our first seed round with investors from Uber, Robinhood, Calm – Jason Calacanis and Antler – the largest pre-seed fund in the world.
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Zayd’s own experiences as a founder fueled the drive to build Valley. Proving that solving your own problem often leads to an interesting startup.
After selling his first startup, focused on acquiring clients for financial advisors, at age 19 in a 7-figure deal, Zayd began his time at Tulane Unviersity.
“I then went to college like any other 19-year-old guy,” he says. “I quickly understood that it was not for me, it was boring. I needed more – I needed to keep moving, so after a semester, I dropped out for a semester and decided to start Valley (at that time it was called FISH). FISH was born out of my own problem. I saw that there were people capable of starting businesses everywhere – myself included. Zayd is currently studying at Columbia University in New York while building Valley.
The concept behind Valley – that entrepreneurs can start and build great businesses from anywhere if they have the ability to network – is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The natural progression of the aforementioned Silicon Valley expansion is that it will be global. There has been a 600% increase over the last five years in venture capital dollars flowing between the coasts.
“10 years ago there were 36 cities with more than one unicorn [a startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more]. Today there are over 170. There is a quarter of a trillion dollars of venture capital in dry powder form. Finding skewed returns happens by uncovering slots for startup talent and business building prowess that others have overlooked. This means that the new Silicon Valley must play globally. The days of founders having to graduate from Stanford, travel down the road and go to Y Combinator, and be funded by an Andreesen or Accel are long gone. This trifecta is still powerful – but it is no longer an imperative or necessary building block for a successful outcome. A social layer to replicate the communities created in the first version of Silicon Valley is essential for the growth and success of the space. We need connection, we need easy access, we need to discover the people who can’t make it to America’s Tier 1 cities but are progressing at an unimaginable rate…and we need to empower them. This is what Silicon Valley [is supposed to be] everything on. Discover the unknown.
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Where will Valley be in five years?
“We will have the entire early-stage investment market on our platform. You will discover, collaborate, discuss, vote and invest in startup companies on Valley – from all over the world.
Zayd Ali has been featured on CNN Business, NBC, ABC, FOX and Marketwatch while serving as President and COO for a number of non-profit organizations as well as a Prudential Spirit of Community and Points Award winner. of Light.