Silicon Prairie now prime startup territory

A new generation of entrepreneurs is emerging in various locales across the US heartland, attracted by low costs and a higher, less-stressful quality of life.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Earlier this month, we reported on the emergence of Kansas City's "Startup Village," spurred by the Google Fiber broadband project. However, there may be more at work than Google's intervention: there are many other tech hotspots are springing up across the US Midwest, from Iowa to Nebraska.

As observed by The New York Times' John Eligon, there is a new generation of entrepreneurs emerging in various locales across the US heartland, attracted by low costs and a higher, less-stressful quality of life.

"From [Des Moines] to Omaha to Kansas City — a region known more for its barns than its bandwidth — a start-up tech scene is burgeoning. Dozens of new ventures are laying roots each year, investors are committing hundreds of millions of dollars to them, and state governments are teaming up with private organizations to promote the growing tech community."

Eligon cites a recent report commissioned by the Angel Resource Institute, Silicon Valley Bank and CB Insights which finds that the Great Plains and Southwest are the two US regions that saw increased startup investor funding in the first half of 2012 from the year before.  (The Great Plains still only has 5.7% of total investment deals, however.)

Nebraska is a startup story in itself, Eligon also reports. About 15 to 20 start-ups are now established each year in eastern Nebraska, a more than threefold increase from five years ago, according to the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. In addition, "there is more than $300 million in organized venture capital available in the state, as well as tax credits for investors; six years ago there was virtually none."

As documented in Silicon Prairie News -- the primary information source, job board, and cheerleader for Silicon Prairie -- Startup Weekend Kansas City was a well-attended event, crackling with new ideas and drive. Another interesting feature in SPN from a couple of months back: "10 Silicon Prairie Startups to Watch in 2012" -- including Marion, Iowa-based Syncbak, a media technology company that has created an internet broadcast platform and live TV app for smartphones and tablets; Kansas City, Missouri-based Cognovant Inc., a consumer health company specializing in mobile personal health record technology; and Kansas City, Missouri-based Sporting Innovations, a startup is focused on developing and deploying next-generation technology to support the sports and entertainment industry, as well as its patrons.

(Photo: Joe McKendrick.)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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