If you’re like me, stories dissecting the highlights of 2017 and predicting top trends for 2018 have started taking over your News Feed. I know some readers and writers find them too formulaic (why does everything have to be a top 10 list?). But I find that taking stock of what we talked about in 2017 is helpful to understand what we didn’t talk about — and should talk about —  in 2018.

The guiding question I’m focused on as I prepare for 2018 is: How can we better understand Heartland tech startups in 2018?  By “we” I don’t just mean VentureBeat. Who are the stakeholders that can really improve the conditions of tech communities in Middle America?  And how can we help them have conversations that are more finely tuned to the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs in these places face every day?

We’ll continue to look for answers leading up to our BLUEPRINTevent on March 5-7 in Reno, Nevada. At BLUEPRINT, you’ll have a chance to hear from executives of prominent tech companies and economic development leaders about how to plug in to up-and-coming tech hubs across the country.

But, we’re not waiting until January to start talking about what we can do better in 2018. One of our frequent guest writers, Dustin McKissen, wrote about 3 ways local government can make their city or state more startup-friendly in 2018. (Hint: talk to entrepreneurs about what “startup-friendly” actually means.) And Monica Laufer with the startup research firm Engine discussed 5 lessons every U.S. startup community should take from 2017 into 2018.

How can we do a better job of telling tech stories in the Heartland in 2018? Please send news tips or feedback to me via email, and please remember to share these #HeartlandTech stories on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

Please enjoy this video from CNBC, “Where does Main Street stand on key issues?

FROM THE HEARTLAND TECH CHANNEL

Why Ohio health care startups saw a 206% funding increase in 2017

GUEST: While there are a number of Midwestern cities that are home to promising health care startups, including Minneapolis and Chicago, Ohio is quickly positioning itself as a major player. The state has seen an influx of funding to health care and life sciences startups, and it produced one of the biggest Midwest startup exits of […]

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Techstars launches Minnesota accelerator for agriculture and food startups

International startup accelerator Techstars announced today that it is launching a new ag tech accelerator in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Called the Farm-to-Fork Accelerator, the program will be managed by Brett Brohl, previously an entrepreneur in resident at Techstar’s Retail Accelerator, also based in Minnesota. Cargill and Ecolab, some of the largest players in the ag tech […]

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Above: Shipt’s headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama

Image Credit: via Shipt press kit

Target’s acquisition of Shipt is a win for Alabama, but coastal investors are the biggest victors

ANALYSIS: Target’s $550 million all-cash acquisition of online grocery delivery service Shipt on Wednesday may not seem large by Silicon Valley standards. But when you consider that it’s taken startups in Shipt’s home state of Alabama five years to raise that same amount of money, you can see why Shipt’s acquisition might be cause for celebration among […]

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3 ways local governments can make their state or city more startup-friendly in 2018

GUEST: Contrary to popular belief, government bureaucrats aren’t trying to thwart entrepreneurs at every turn. In my experience, the opposite has been true. The state and local government officials I meet with in my role as a vice president for an economic development organization in St. Charles, Missouri, increasingly see startups as important to the future […]

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BEYOND VB

Can Pittsburgh tech startups navigate the ‘valley of death’ to find funding? 

Five hundred-ninety three miles away from Pittsburgh Technology Council’s South Side office, 16 of the city’s entrepreneurs chatted with investors at a two-day New England Venture Summit in Boston. (via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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Atlanta tech startups contemplate their future after net neutrality ends

Scott Jones works with Tapp Solutions, a start-up in located in Atlanta’s Tech Village that works with insurance companies to mobilize information.

“It makes it harder for new businesses and new concepts to emerge,” he said. “I’m afraid that the internet is going to change a lot less in the next 10 years than it has in the last 10 years. (via WABE)

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Tech has a diversity problem — so this designer went to Kentucky 

Tayler Bussey, 17, lives in Paintsville, Kentucky–the heart of coal country. She loves to do art, but design wasn’t something she’d ever envisioned as a career.

That is, until she became member of the Appalachian Graphic Design Fellowship Program through her high school. The program, spearheaded by design luminary and head of computational design and inclusion at Automattic, John Maeda, aims to expose high school students in Kentucky to design as a career path while showing them the possibilities of remote work. (via Fast Co. Design)

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The Top 5 Twin Cities Tech and Startup Stories of 2017

The year is coming to a close, which means it is time to look back at some of the biggest Minnesota tech and startup stories from 2017. This year’s list includes a record number of co-working companies opening in the Twin Cities and Minnesota’s largest venture capital raise to date. (via Minnesota Inno)

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