Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)
Zachary Crockett of The Hustle, an online tech and business publication, starts his article “Life in the Silicon Prairie: Tech’s Great Migration to the Midwest” by asking Silicon Valley tech workers what they picture when asked about Nebraska. And what they answer could be said about the Midwest as a whole: corn, cows, tractors and farms. Yes, we do have all of that, but we also have a whole lot more, and that “more” is exactly why venture capitalists are finally seeing the potential for growth right here in our neck of the woods.
Crockett mentions that “more” throughout his article when he quotes Stephanie Luebbe, executive director of the Nebraska Angels, a network of 60 angel investors who have invested $11m in local startups to date: the midwestern work ethic. And with that work ethic comes a sense of pride, generosity, appreciation, and willingness to do what it takes to prove that it doesn’t matter where you come from to build and grow something that is worthy of profit and well, quite a bit of money. As Crockett points out, “last year, total investment in Midwestern companies was up to an all-time high of $4.5B. And investors are seeing returns: in 2017, 37 companies in the region exited for a total value of $5.1B, up from $1.6B in 2016. CoverMyMeds, Ohio’s “first tech unicorn,” was sold for $1.1B, good for the biggest exit in the state’s history.”
People with money in the Midwest want to see the Midwest thrive. They want to keep the young entrepreneurs who are helping make business operations run more smoothly. So these young startups are able to raise more money because in the Midwest everyone truly rallies around each other and wants it all to succeed. Rather than being in competition with each other, Midwest companies take on Midwest values: we’re all in this together.
But, as Crockett points out, Silicon Valley is where Apple, Google, Microsoft, and many others got their start. And yes, being coastal is appealing. And so is earning $124k a year, but what isn’t appealing is the hefty price tag of living in those areas, so that high income doesn’t really bank the bucks that an $84k salary in an area that has ⅓ the cost of living expenses does.
And while all of those benefits will certainly prove that the Midwest is the place to be, Crockett mentions the number one reason the trend is coming to the nation’s heartland: proximity to customers. Silicon Valley’s companies are mainly working to fix the issues of businesses located in, you guessed it, the Midwest.
But rest assured Silicon Valley, the Midwest does not want to be the next you. They want to retain their identity and do their work with Midwestern Pride right along the cows, corn, and tractors, too.