Included in this week’s Heartland Tech newsletter is a story I’ve been working on for a few weeks in the hopes that it can shed some more light on how a tech hub gets made — in this case, how the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce for $2.5 billion has shaped the Indianapolis tech community.
I looked at what’s changed in the Indianapolis tech community since the acquisition (more seed capital; more interest in the city from coastal tech companies) and what hasn’t (access to scale-up capital is still difficult; the middle management talent pool is still shallow). The point I tried to hit home: How transformative a large acquisition is for a tech community depends on what executives and employees of that company do afterwards, and if they invest their knowledge and money back into the startup community.
One point that I want to emphasize from the piece — for all the progress many Indianapolis startup founders feel the city has made, the number of startups that have secured scale-up capital doesn’t show it. Only six companies have raised a series B since 2013, while just two have raised a series C, according to Crunchbase.
This doesn’t mean that the progress the Indianapolis startup community thinks it’s making isn’t real; rather, it’s a reminder of just how many components are needed to create an environment where tech companies can scale to 1,000+ employees. An increase in early-stage startup activity does not indicate that the community has what it takes to support scaling startups — and that’s the next challenge Indianapolis faces.
I look forward to seeing where the Indianapolis tech community is in another five years.
Heartland Tech Reporter
Check out this video from Powderkeg, “Guide to the Denver-Boulder startup scene”
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