Surprised that the Last Frontier is No. 5? Startup America says Alaska's membership grew 512% between 2011 and 2012, and its members have the nation's eighth-highest revenue per startup. In June 2012, the state passed groundbreaking legislation to give tax-exempt status to qualifying small businesses. Locals weigh in:
"In the winter, we get, like, four hours of sun. There's not much to do except sit at a computer. And Alaska's a nice place to take a risk. If shit hits the fan, you can fall back on an entry-level, six-figure job at BP. Not so bad."
"Down in Silicon Valley, there's so much going on. How do you keep track of it, let alone get ahead of it?
Anchorage has a real small-town feel; you find out about anyone who is bright and innovative."
Anchorage's City-funded angel
Program manager, 49th State Angel Fund
"People here are not wrapped up in technology glamour. Having disruptive ideas is exciting, but you need a paying customer at the end of the road."