Tech Startup Central Moves to Midwest, the Central Hub of America. Horace Greeley, the iconic American author and newspaper editor who reigned during the mid to late 1800’s is either rightly or wrongly credited with coining the phrase “Go West, Young Man, Go West!” as a means to express the view that the western region of the United States presented great opportunities for entrepreneurs and job seekers vying to escape unemployment and poverty that was indemic throughout Eastern cities. Now, as the 21st century is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the notion that California’s Silicon Valley and New York’s Silicon Alley are “the only places” for tech startup cool kids to make their bones is being dispelled, according to a NYT column by Steve Lohr. As an example, Columbus, Ohio can be super cool, as evidenced by the likes of AOL founder Steve Case. Since 2011, his firm has raised more than $1 billion for two funds, Revolution Ventures and Revolution Growth, which generally make investments of $4 million to $50 million, including tech start-ups in the Midwest.
The rationale for investing in the Midwest combines cost and opportunity. A top-flight software engineer who is paid $100,000 a year in the Midwest might well command $200,000 or more in the Bay Area. The Midwest, the optimists say, also has ample tech talent, with excellent engineers coming out of major state and private universities in the region.
Advancing the thesis that going “mid” instead of East or West, the Kauffman Foundation, which studies start-up activity, reported last month that Columbus ranked third among 40 metropolitan areas in “growth entrepreneurship,” the share of start-ups that employ 50 or more workers within 10 years.
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For the full NY Times article “As Silicon Valley Gets ‘Crazy,’ Midwest Beckons Tech Investors, click here