The New York Times identifies the "Silicon Prairie," an area in the center of America seeing increased capital venturing into tech start-ups:
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. They are calling it — what else? — the Silicon Prairie.
Although a relatively small share of the country’s “angel investment” deals — 5.7 percent — are done in the Great Plains, the region was just one of two (the other is the Southwest) that increased its share of them from the first half of 2011 to the first half of this year, according to a report commissioned by the Angel Resource Institute, Silicon Valley Bank and CB Insights.
Fifteen to 20 start-ups, most of them tech-related, are now established each year in eastern Nebraska, a more than threefold increase from five years ago, according to the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. Today, 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, according to the chamber [John Eligon, "Tech Start-Ups Find a Home on the Prairie," New York Times, 2012.11.21].
The big question: did the Times misplace the northwest vertex of that triangle by a couple hundred miles? Can we include Sioux Falls and southeast South Dakota in the Silicon Prairie? And if not, what do we (and all those eager DSU graduates) need to do to draw that venture capital here and provide more high-tech job opportunities?
One other note for those of you who still haven't taken down your Romney-Ryan iconostases: many of these start-ups depend on angel investors, folks who drop seed cash in ambitious dreamers' pockets on the hope that good things will come. With all of our burgeoning wealth, South Dakota ought to have plenty of angel investors looking to float more boats on their rising tides.
But whoever's giving the helping hand, public or private, you guys in the Silicon Prairie didn't really build that, did you?