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Technology East Coast, West Coast Style

EisnerAmper recently held the webinar: “East Meets West: Entrepreneur’s Perspectives” featuring noted entrepreneurs and academics Sep Kamvar, a professor at MIT, and Mung Chiang, a professor at Princeton.

Both agreed that a few fundamental differences between tech innovation on the West Coast vs. the East Coast are funding options and capital availability; the maturity of the industry, academic and venture capital ecosystem; and the risk-taking mentality.

Sep and Mung both agreed that the West Coast does have an edge in the above criteria. However, the pair feels the East Coast is quickly getting much stronger in these areas. The key takeaway, say both, is that you can’t really paint either coast with such a broad brush.

As an accounting practitioner who splits time between both coasts, it got me to thinking what nuances are specific to the tech entrepreneurial market that I see in each geographic area on a day-to-day basis. Here’s what I’ve come up with—and these are purely my opinions; not those of EisnerAmper as a whole:

  1. Tech entrepreneurs on the West Coast don’t have as much interest in accounting jargon. Their East Coast counterparts are more receptive to talking about the ins and outs of audit and tax.
  2. West Coasters are more willing to stretch their boundaries to find creative solutions to the existing problems, such as outsourcing within or beyond U.S. borders.
  3. The accepted business attire is even different on each coast. If I show up to a client meeting on the East Coast wearing business casual, I might get some suspicious looks. The West Coast is more laid back in this regard.

Amar Bhatkhandé is an Audit Partner and a leader in the Life Sciences and Technology Services Group for the firm's West Coast practice, with over 25 years of experience in public accounting and 2 years in private.

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