Great Plains Startup Scene in the Spotlight

    The New York Times has discovered the “Silicon Prairie” out smack in the middle of the country and the startup scene chronicled at Silicon Prairie News.

    Quoth the Times:

    From [Des Moines] to Omaha to Kansas City — a region known more for its barns than its bandwidth — a start-up tech scene is burgeoning. Dozens of new ventures are laying roots each year, investors are committing hundreds of millions of dollars to them, and state governments are teaming up with private organizations to promote the growing tech community.

    To be sure, it’s not the heady venture capital scene as in the usual tech hotspots — Geekwire reports Seattle startups, for instance, have landed $142 million in funding in the past 30 days. Great Plains startups have landed just 5.7 percent of the investment deals in the past year or so.

    Kansas City, though, made Dice’s list back in March of the fastest-growing cities for technology jobs. And startups have been relocating there in recent months to take advantage of Google Fiber’s 1 Gigabit-per-second service.

    “We’re creating different types of start-ups using local ingredients,” Christian Renaud, a principal at a Des Moines startup incubator told the Times. Among them: Ag Local, which provides an online marketplace for trading meat; EyeVerify, a biometric identification company; and Tikly, which created a platform for bands to sell concert tickets.

    Entrepreneur magazine named Kansas City and Omaha among “9 Cities You Wouldn’t Think Are Hubs for Tech Startups” — along with not-too-distant Northwest Arkansas, though it’s not a city, but no, you wouldn’t think of it.

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