Heartland Tech Weekly: Even after startup successes, scaleup capital is a scarce commodity

Included in this week’s Heartland Tech newsletter is a story I’ve been working on for a few weeks in the hopes that it can shed some more light on how a tech hub gets made — in this case, how the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce for $2.5 billion has shaped the Indianapolis tech community.
I looked at what’s changed in the Indianapolis tech community since the acquisition (more seed capital; more interest in the city from coastal tech companies) and what hasn’t (access to scale-up capital is still difficult; the middle management talent pool is still shallow). The point I tried to hit home: How transformative a large acquisition is for a tech community depends on what executives and employees of that company do afterwards, and if they invest their knowledge and money back into the startup community.
One point that I want to emphasize from the piece — for all the progress many Indianapolis startup founders feel the city has made, the number of startups that have secured scale-up capital doesn’t show it. Only six companies have raised a series B since 2013, while just two have raised a series C, according to Crunchbase.
This doesn’t mean that the progress the Indianapolis startup community thinks it’s making isn’t real; rather, it’s a reminder of just how many components are needed to create an environment where tech companies can scale to 1,000+ employees. An increase in early-stage startup activity does not indicate that the community has what it takes to support scaling startups — and that’s the next challenge Indianapolis faces.
I look forward to seeing where the Indianapolis tech community is in another five years.
Thanks for reading, and as always, please send me your thoughts via email. You can also sign up here for VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech newsletter to get this column in your inbox weekly.
Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

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