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For many Silicon Valley venture capitalists, the five-hour flight to the Midwest may seem five times that long, considering most of their portfolio companies may currently be within a 30-minute drive.

But distance shouldn’t keep Silicon Valley and the Midwest from working together — and in fact, Silicon Valley venture capitalists are likely to miss out on killer deals if they only look at startups in their neighborhood.

That was the message of a tour last week organized by Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Ro Khanna (D-California), who brought together more than a dozen venture capitalists to visit with entrepreneurs and investors in five Midwestern cities: Youngstown and Akron, Ohio;  Detroit and  Flint, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana.

“[Silicon Valley VCs] don’t necessarily have to pick up and go to Detroit, but [Midwest organizations] can certainly get on the phone and get on the video conference, to tap into the expertise of these people who have been doing this for 20 years,” Rep. Ryan told VentureBeat in a phone call. He said that the trip had already resulted in one $100,000 investment in a Flint organization, and the participants are already discussing more concrete ways to invest in the Midwest.

Critically, Silicon Valley has to get used to going the distance. And that’s something that VentureBeat will discussing at next week’s BLUEPRINT conference in Reno, Nevada. We’re excited to say that we’ve gathered more than 250 participants from 30 states to talk about concrete ways to bridge the divide between Silicon Valley and the rest of the country. Next week, you’ll see our coverage live from the conference as executives from companies like Microsoft, Google, and Walmart outline the ways that their companies hope to invest more in the Heartland, as well as investors and startups in the Heartland who want to amplify their successes to Silicon Valley.

As always, please send me your thoughts via email.

Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

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