Heartland Tech Weekly: How ‘superstars’ can hurt an emerging tech hub- Prosyscom

By Prosyscom
In March 22, 2018


While it’s not technically a city in the “Heartland,” I enjoyed writing last week about the challenges the Seattle tech ecosystem faces. The grass may look greener in the Emerald City to entrepreneurs in the Midwest or South, but entrepreneurs in the city still struggle to find local investors who are both willing to back them and who know how to properly guide entrepreneurs seeking to build a hyper-growth startup.

According to one Seattle startup leader, one of the challenges that Seattle entrepreneurs face is skepticism from investors in the Valley if the city’s most well-known venture firm — Madrona Venture Partners — hasn’t invested in them.

I’ve heard entrepreneurs voice similar frustrations in other cities — that if the city’s most noted fund doesn’t invest in them, venture capitalists outside the city assume that they aren’t worth investing in. Or, if an entrepreneur doesn’t have experience working at one of the city’s prominent startups or in one of its best-known sectors, it’s typically more difficult for them to gain access to the “in crowd” of their startup community.

Unfortunately, this narrative of the “superstar” company or venture capital firm tends to influence media coverage (including my own). Reporters begin to interview the same two to three most active startup leaders when writing about that city.

There’s no easy fix to this solution, given that there are still some cities where startup leaders might not feel like there’s a critical mass of successful entrepreneurs or experienced investors. But if you are in a position where you’re frequently talking to reporters about the tech community in your city, have a rotating list of other investors and entrepreneurs you recommend they talk to — and switch up the two or three people you recommend that reporter talk to.

Are there any under-the-radar companies or investors in your city that you think I should know about? If so, please send me your thoughts via email.

Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter


Check out this video from VentureBeat, “Millennial entrepreneurs speak to benefits of doing business in the Heartland”

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