From Worio to Zite: Three Tips for making it outside the Valley

The Globe and Mail’s David Ebner told the story of how Vancouver search startup Worio transformed into the much discussed Zite in today’s edition. In an article titled The race to build the ‘Daily Me’, Ebner spends some time with founder Ali Davar and the small team of computer scientists that are responsible for the popular new app on the iPad.

Zite is a “personalized magazine” that learns the nuances of a person’s reading tastes. The app was an instant hit when it was released in March and reached No. 1 in Apple’s rankings of free apps in its first two days and was downloaded more than 100,000 times in its first week.

Ebner closes his piece with Davar’s three tips for making it in technology outside Silicon Valley:

  1. Capitalize on avoiding the “Valley premium.” All costs in the San Francisco-San Jose region are higher than almost anywhere else. Use this to “do more with less.”
  2. Recruit Valley ambassadors and visit regularly. Make a connection with key individuals in Silicon Valley, who can help sell your story on your behalf, which can be reinforced during visits for major conferences and events (at least once a quarter).
  3. Mine local talent. Away from the hypercompetition for computer scientists in California, technology upstarts can build small, talented teams through local universities.

Keep on the lookout for Zite. They’re in talks to raise at $10+ million in venture capital this spring and are being closely watched by many.