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You Don't Need to Leave Your Hometown to Start a Great Business Forget Silicon Valley. A growing number of entrepreneurs are returning to their roots to build a business.

By Maggie Ginsberg

This story appears in the September 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Amy Lombard

Nobody really wanted to fund us," recalls Alex Kubicek, a soft-spoken Midwesterner with a shrewd scientific mind.

He's thinking back to 2013. He was 25 and had already banked dual degrees in physics and electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, as well as a master's in atmospheric science from top-tier UW–Madison. Then he'd created a hyperlocal weather observation company called Understory and landed it in the first-ever cohort of an accelerator in his hometown of Madison, which in turn sent him off on nearly a year's worth of pitching to Wisconsin-based investors. But nobody put in money.

Was his company the problem … or was it the stock of local investors? He decided it was the latter, and moved to Boston -- where his fortunes changed. A local hardware venture firm called Bolt invested first. San Francisco's True Ventures went on to lead a $1.9 million seed round. Understory was on its way.

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