Just over two years ago, when we launched Xconomy Wisconsin as the ninth region in our network, I wrote: “There are no flyover zones in the United States. That’s the way Xconomy views the map, anyway, because we see innovation happening all over America.”
Since that time, we expanded again, to Raleigh-Durham. And I am pleased to announce today the addition of an 11th region in Xconomy’s network of coverage—Xconomy Indiana.
I now not only consider there to be no flyover zones in the U.S.—with this many nodes in our network, the distances are actually almost driveable, one to another in one manageable shot.
So why are we in Indiana? The same question was asked as we expanded to Wisconsin, or Detroit, or Houston, for that matter. Well, the answer is if you set aside some outsider preconceptions and look into what is going on, you will find a long-standing—and growing—high-tech innovation ecosystem.
For instance, a few years ago, in one of the largest tech acquisitions of 2013, Salesforce purchased Indianapolis-based ExactTarget for $2.5 billion. Not only did ExactTarget help advance high-tech skills in the region and help put Indianapolis on the tech map, its sale has spawned angel investors and firms like High Alpha—a startup studio/venture fund whose founders include three former ExactTarget executives, including co-founder and former CEO Scott Dorsey.
Review site Angie’s List is also headquartered in Indianapolis. ChaCha, the human-guided search engine founded by Web entrepreneur Scott Jones, is in nearby Carmel, IN. Jones has a new startup called Eleven Fifty Academy, also in Carmel.
On the life sciences side, Eli Lilly, one of the world’s top pharmaceutical makers, is headquartered in Indianapolis. The state has a growing biotechnology community, and a strong presence in agricultural biotech (stay tuned on that front).
And there are state of the art co-working spaces such as Launch Fishers, giving rise to a new generation of entrepreneurs exhibiting the same kind of skills and fervor as you will find in their counterparts on the coasts.
On the education and research front, Indiana is home to a multitude of academic institutions, including Indiana University, Purdue University, Butler University, Notre Dame, Depauw University, Indiana State University, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Our first few Indiana stories are already live. A few weeks ago, we published “How Self-Driving Vehicles Could Take Root in Indiana,” by freelancer Chris O’Malley, well before our launch. Today you can find another story, by senior editor Jeff Engel, on High Alpha’s strategy and what makes it stand out in the world of venture capital and startups. And more are coming.
We also have been building up our ranks of Indiana Xconomists, the group of leading innovators who act as our informal editorial advisors (we now have more than 400 Xconomists across the U.S.).
In short, we will have no shortage of companies, people, and trends to write about in Indiana—just as has proved the case in other so-called “fly-over” regions. (We’re also still looking for contributors, so if you’re an ambitious reporter who knows the local scene and wants to make a mark, drop us a line.)
We’d like to thank all those who are supporting us as early underwriters and partners. These are organizations that believe in the in-depth, independent journalism Xconomy brings—and who want to sustain it in the Hoosier state. They include:
Launch Indiana; BioCrossroads; AgriNovus Indiana; Purdue Research Foundation, Purdue Foundry, and Purdue Research Park; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; Indiana University; and Faegre Baker Daniels.
We are tremendously grateful to all of them—and everyone else we have met who has welcomed us to Indiana and helped us in different ways. Thank you!