In an industry that has roots in Silicon Valley, can the Midwest even hold a candle to the West Coast?
I caught up with SproutBox co-founder, Brad Wisler, hot off the heels of the first successful exit of one of their “sprouts,” MyJibe. We had a chance to talk about what makes the Midwest a good spot to start a software company:
SproutBox Says: dealflow pipes are pumping out good opportunities.
SproutBox is finding their best deals from the Midwest. In fact, six out of the last seven SproutBox deals came from Midwest cities. Their most recent deal, Vaultworthy, is still in stealth mode. But the founders will launch the new startup from Chicago early this year.
This ample supply of dealflow is steadily changing the investment environment in the Midwest. As more deals see more successful exits, a larger quantity of angels, VCs, and accelerators like SproutBox will look to pump their dollars into high-potential startups in pursuit of positive returns.
Startup culture has shifted for the better.
The playing field has been leveled a little bit as all the pieces have fallen into place. Now, there’s a true startup community in the Midwest. And as startup support groups grow and co-working spaces pop up, young talent is growing less risk averse and more interested in startups.
SproutBox plays an important role in startup ecosystem by connecting at startup events, hosting open office hours, and collaborating with local government.
The startup talent pool is filled to the brim.
There’s no doubt about it: there’s something about the Midwest that cultivates exceptional work ethic.
Combine that with top-ranked universities and you’ll find a community that’s primed to produce business with sound foundations. This is great for SproutBox, since they invest primarily in what they call “idea-stage” companies.
Nationwide, there aren’t many people doing idea stage deals because it’s perceived as high risk. But with Midwest talent and a proven track record of execution, SproutBox feels that they mitigate that risk by helping build the product. So far, results seem to confirm their hypothesis.
Deep founder collaboration gives SproutBox an edge, but it’s hard to ignore the advantage that they gain by situating themselves in the heart of a rapidly evolving startup community. How will you seize the opportunity?