This week, I wrote about some of the highs and lows the Heartland experienced this year in its quest to land more tech jobs and businesses. The good news: this year proved that there’s a healthy concentration of tech companies in places like Ann Arbor, Columbus, and Salt Lake City that are employing several hundred people or more each. The bad news: with giant tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple choosing established tech hubs over up-and-coming Heartland cities to add new offices, the gap between Middle America and places like New York City, San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle is not shrinking as quickly as it needs to.
With that in mind, there are a few topics that I think need to be top of mind in 2019 as we talk about how to close the gap between Silicon Valley and the rest of the country:
—How can we get cities to stop forking over as many subsidies in possible in an attempt to land new offices from Amazon and other large tech companies?
—Amazon and Apple’s expansion choices have shown that talent is the biggest determining factor when selecting new offices. How can we encourage cities to invest more in building a bigger pipeline of tech talent, and what are the most effective ways to do so.
—While some cities are seeing an increase in the number of total startups receiving seed funding, raising a Series A and beyond is still a struggle. How can we build better relationships between the coastal VC firms that can provide that funding, and seed stage Heartland firms?
On a programming note, I’ll be off the next two weeks, so the next newsletter will come in January. Thank you for joining the discussion over the past year, and see you in 2019.
Check out this video from CNBC, “Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks with CNBC about Apple’s new Austin campus”
From the Heartland Tech channel
This year proved that cities in Middle America need to invest in their own tech communities, rather than trying to land jobs from the Amazons of the world.
Waze Carpool is partnering with private businesses like Wonolo, whose workers want to carpool, to gain an edge over Lyft Line and Uber Pool.
Nashville and others are thriving thanks to a mix of luck, astute political choices and well-timed investments, while cities like Birmingham, Ala., fall behind. (via New York Times)
Whether you’re an entrepreneur plotting to launch a startup or a CEO strategizing where to put another office, knowing where the next hot city is would be a game changer. Should you expand to Raleigh? (via Inc.com)
The Mom Project, a Chicago-based startup that’s built an online platform to connect employers to viable female candidates, raised a new round of funding to help it grow. The startup announced Monday it raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Grotech Ventures and Initialized Capital. (via Chicago Inno)
After raising $55 million in October at a $500 million valuation, business software marketplace G2 Crowd is making its first-ever acquisition to bring more features to its platform. (via TechCrunch)