Facebook Twitter YouTube SoundCloud RSS

America’s New Silicon Valley: Introducing the Midwest’s ‘Silicon Prairie’

21st Century Wire says… With unrealistic costs of living and doing business in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Seattle, New York and Boston, America’s cradle of hi-tech innovation has moved inland to the Midwest and bustling new centers of innovation and opportunity – like Kansas City, Iowa City, and Nashville. Entrepreneurship is becoming democratized again.

Kanas City’s new ‘Start-Up Village’.

Kansas City’s regeneration and low cost of living has given birth to a thriving start-up community which has attracted significant media attention and investment lately, with tech pundits dubbing it the ‘Silicon Prairie’.

It’s worth noting here, that Google Fibre broke ground in KC’s new Start-up village recently (left).

We predict that in the next few years, many of the tech/internet industry’s top brands and names will be migrating inland as well in order to preserve their bottom lines.

Watch this space…

‘A start-up epidemic is spreading across the country, but are some sectors falling behind?’

J.D. Harrison
Washington Post

Dozens of entrepreneurs and investors gathered at the White House this week to update administration officials on the progress of start-up ecosystems in their hometowns and pitch policy recommendations for the coming year.

California’s Silicon Valley: Now overpriced and over-rated?

But they didn’t fly in from traditional innovation hubs like Boston and Silicon Valley; they came from cities like Lincoln, Neb., Nashville, Tenn., and Iowa City, Iowa.

“In the last couple years, there’s really been a groundswell of entrepreneurial activity in places not traditionally known for that,” Andy Stoll, co-founder of Seed Here Studio, a networking start-up for young companies in Iowa City, said in an interview. “Geography doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas, and we are just trying to find ways to unlock that latent entrepreneurial talent in places like Iowa. We’re not saying we’re better than New York or San Francisco, we’re just asking ‘Why not here in the Midwest?’ ”

Once largely confined to a few metropolitan areas along the coasts, the “entrepreneurial bug,” as one venture capitalist put it, has started spreading to towns and cities around the country. Alan Patricof, founder and managing director of Greycroft Partners in New York and Los Angeles, said the movement seems to have sparked a surge in the number of start-ups nationwide, reversing a recent decline in new business formation.

“Do we have a lot of start-up activity or don’t we?” Patricof asked during a separate event in Washington on Tuesday sponsored by the ­­­Kauffman Foundation, a research group focused on entrepreneurship. “The statistics seem to keep saying we don’t, but I can tell you, I can judge by the number of invitations I get to speak on panels around the country, and in my opinion, the entrepreneurial bug has hit this country.”

Related: Where is America’s next Silicon Valley?

In his more than four decades in the business, Patricof said he has never seen start-up activity to match what he has observed in the past three years – “and it’s not just New York, San Francisco and Boston… it’s happening in Kansas City, it’s happening in Ames, Iowa, it’s happening all over this country.”

Kansas City’s regeneration has attracted some of the country’s best talent.

The movement has been accelerated, he said, by public-private entrepreneurship programs, including Startup America, which promotes private-sector investments in early-stage enterprises and has in the past two years built a network of regional outposts in places like Kansas, Utah and Missouri.

But more than anything, greater connectivity and the declining costs of technology are opening doors for prospective entrepreneurs, including advances in cloud computing and outsourced computer programming, which have significantly reduced the up-front costs for firms in various sectors and made it possible to launch start-ups with little concern for geographical location.

“Entrepreneurship has been democratized in the past few years, and by that, I mean that if you have an idea for a business, the barriers to entry have just collapsed,” said Stoll, who presented at the meeting at the White House. “There are people all over the country, they see these tools that are available, and they want to figure out how to use them to get started.”

Equity-based crowd-funding, which has been approved by legislators but delayed by regulators, could render location even more obsolete in the years ahead, according to Jeff Fagnan, a partner at Atlas Venture in Cambridge, Mass., who spoke at the Kauffman event. The Securities and Exchange Commission was tasked with implementing new rules to govern crowd-funding by the end of last year, but concerns about investor protections have led to missed deadlines

Read more here



Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue
Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue