Does your startup need to be in SF? Dalton & Michael say...

by Dalton Caldwell8/1/2023

YC Group Partners Dalton Caldwell and Michael Seibel in front of the text "The Great Debate"

In this episode of Dalton & Michael, we discuss the hot button issue of… living in the Bay Area! If you’re starting a company, does it need to be in San Francisco?

One rare aspect of this episode: it’s one where Michael and I disagree.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • The pros and cons of living in the Bay Area, while trying to cut through all of the noise startup founders hear on where to live.
  • The one big advantage of living in the Bay Area in this moment, which is maximizing luck.
  • The network effects of living in the Bay Area. These effects aren’t always obvious to people who don’t live here; sometimes they aren’t even obvious to the people making use of them.
  • Why you want to be around the top .001% of people in your field, and why for startups that means being in the Bay Area.

Michael lives right in the middle of San Francisco. I live about 30 minutes outside of SF. While we disagree on exactly where we each want to live, we agree on this: if you want to maximize your odds of success as a founder — and why wouldn’t you want that? — you should live in the Bay Area.


  • Dalton Caldwell

    Dalton is Managing Director, Architect and Group Partner at YC. He was the cofounder and CEO of imeem (acquired by MySpace in 2009), and the cofounder and CEO of