These Eight Heartland Cities Are Important to the Way forward for American Innovation

These 8 Heartland Cities Are Essential to the Future of American Innovation

10, 2020

8 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

For many years, much of American innovation – especially technical innovation – has been coastal. Only five metropolitan areas (Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose) accounted for 90% of all high-tech employment growth in the US between 2005 and 2017.

These days are coming to an end. The modern map of innovation and entrepreneurship is beginning to change as companies and innovators move inward towards the heartland. US states, best known for their agro business, are becoming known for their innovation hubs, with high growth rates in startups and growing networks of business owners and entrepreneurs.

This is an important migration of people and ideas. It enables the private sector to be attracted to investment for job creation, which in turn will stimulate economic growth and accelerate America's recovery by investing heavily in geographic areas that typically do not have as much funding.

Which cities are already evidence of this inland innovation explosion? Well, to start with, here are eight of the most popular ones.

1. St. Louis

The Gateway to the West has spent the past decade building innovation infrastructures, including three gems in the Cortex Innovation Community, BIOSTL in Midtown, and the upcoming National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in the north of the city. At the same time, innovators have access to:

With the presence of multiple Fortune 100 companies, a vast array of VC funds and public grates, and a variety of resources designed specifically for innovators and entrepreneurs, St. Louis, the US, is on the brink of innovation in the 21st century to cite.

Related: The Best Cities For New Small Businesses (Infographic)

2nd Novi, Me.

Located just outside of Detroit and Ann Arbor, MI, Novi is one of the most innovative and fastest growing cities in the state of Great Lakes. Recent news shows that cold storage specialist Lineage Logistics has raised $ 1.6 billion in funds. The city itself is working to ensure that more companies are founded and built in the city. This shows in their own investments in the community through free startup advice. Its proximity to Detroit gives Novi innovators access to endless resources across southeast Michigan.

3. Indianapolis

Indianapolis hosts major events as well as every city in America. Downtown has been revitalized over the past 20 years, in part due to the state and city investing in entrepreneurs and innovators. Indianapolis has several tech startups driving tech in bioinformatics, SaaS optimization, and virtual training from industry giant Lessonly. These could be technology and customer management systems, to name a few. There are many funders available to innovators in the Indy area, including High Alpha, Innovate Indiana, and Xcap Angels, to name a few. If that weren't enough, Indiana has allocated $ 1 billion over the next 10 years to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in Indiana.

4. Columbus, Ohio

Home to promising startups like Sollis Therapeutics, Root Insurance and 2Checkout, Columbus has been consistently ranked as a top city for startups to scale by the Kauffman Index. The per capita funding available to startups in Columbus is among the highest in the nation, meaning startups that have grown in-house and experts from across the nation view Columbus as a prime place to take root Beat and scale, as former Sequoia Capital partners testify Chris Olsen and Mark Kvamme left Silicon Valley in 2012 to start Drive Capital, now considered the largest VC company in Columbus.

The entire Columbus community, including Ohio State University and the Short North neighborhood, work together to create and nurture a vibrant startup community. Innovators like SafeChain and wireless Internet of Things provider Nikola Labs and Ohio's first unicorn CoverMyMeds have their roots in Columbus.

5. Omaha, Neb.

Omaha, NE is not only home to one of the most vibrant independent music scenes in the US, but also an unexpected innovation hotspot. They recently founded Facebook Inc.'s newest data center, have an incredibly supportive local chamber of commerce, and host highly rated innovative companies in the fields of web security, video conferencing, cardiothoracic surgery, and supply chain technology. One of the greatest advantages is the presence of the Nebraska Innovation Campus, which "brings together the talent of professionals, companies and the university to create a unique culture of innovation."

See Also: Infographic: The 10 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs in the US

6. Denver, Co.

Home to renowned companies like Welltok, Reven Pharmaceuticals, Accera and others, Denver has a proven track record of nurturing innovators and cutting edge companies with maximum potential. A big contributing factor is the 150,000+ college students in and around the area who provide local businesses with native talent that is part of Denver and fully invested in its growth.

One thing that all cities on this list have in common is that each has at least one hub that brilliant minds can work on in close proximity. Denver continues that trend with Built In Colorado, a home for startups in e-commerce, fintech, healthcare technology, ad tech, and ed tech.

7. Wichita and Kansas City, Kan.

Wichita and Kansas City, Kan., Are 200 miles apart, but have a symbiotic relationship in funding and supporting innovators in eastern Kansas. Just look at the Wichita-based Accelerate Venture Partners who are putting their support to two of the emerging startups in the Kansas City area. In the Midwest, people are less concentrated in metropolitan areas, so cities nearby are looking for talent, support, innovation and investment.

Wichita also has innovators like Kingfit, which is fighting diabetes through education accessible to patients through an app, or a company like Grit Virtual, which is changing the way construction companies manage projects to eliminate waste and make large projects more efficient shape.

Kansas City is now one of the best cities in the United States for funding and supporting entrepreneurs and innovators. This exponentially strengthens the entrepreneurial and innovative communities and the overall talent pool that larger companies can recruit from.

8. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

Last but not least are the Twin Cities. In recent news, Google has funded African American-founded startups Civil Eagle, Watch the Yard, and The Black Women & # 39; s Wealth Alliance with $ 200,000 as part of its Black Founders Fund. This is not the first time the Twin Cities have been recognized as the home of amazing innovators, and it is far from the last. The region is home to over 150 startups and is growing.

In October, Silicon Valley-based Arctic Wolf announced it plans to move its corporate headquarters to Minnesota and establish a $ 200 million Series E venture capital round. This will increase the area's ability to further develop innovators. Home to food giants Cargill, General Mills, Hormel and Land O’Lakes, the Twin Cities have the infrastructure and experience to scale and support their growing minds.

What's next?

How do we encourage this growth and let the movement grow exponentially? We must first set up incubation rooms and facilities for innovators, entrepreneurs and startups. Then set up a marketplace for the commercialization of virtual technologies. Startups and small businesses would identify a market or problem and propose a solution rather than relying on large corporations and corporations. Time and resources must be invested by local, state, and federal governments and capital from private VC firms – this cannot be an either / or situation. Grants must be determined and awarded on the basis of merit and ingenuity. These then need to be complemented by private investment to get them across the finish line and scaled to a level that has a positive impact on the general public.

The future of American innovation is in safe, brilliant hands. All you have to do is scan more of the map than the coasts. Between the Great Lakes, Mississippi River Valley, Great Plains and Rocky Mountain lies a new, better world. Stronger and smarter United States of America.

This article was written in collaboration with William Saulsbery