- Gerry Dick
City and State Have Created an Incubator for Tech SuccessPosted: Updated:
When it comes to education, atmosphere and climate matter. That includes everything from a well-lit classroom, engaging learning material and, most important, a teacher who is both a thought leader and coach, determined to set his or her students up for success.
I know this because I’ve had great teachers in school and at home--both of my parents were educators; teachers who helped countless students in the classroom and, at home, set my brother Jason and I up for success in life and business.
Recently we were fortunate and humbled to undergo a $25 million funding round for our company, Kerauno. This has been reported widely as the largest Series A funding round in Indiana history and among the largest in the world. Sure, I believe our communications workflow platform is revolutionary. Yes, I think our team is top-notch. And while Thomas Jefferson famously said, "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have," I know that our success is about much more than grit and hard work.
We’re fortunate to live in a city and state where business is not just appreciated; it’s encouraged. We chose downtown Indianapolis as our global corporate headquarters because it’s a vibrant place where people want to work and live. It’s become a strong incubator for bustling talent. Mayor Joe Hogsett has continued the practice of his predecessor Mayor Greg Ballard of encouraging commuters to walk and bike. We have access to a world-class airport within 15 minutes of the city’s core. While we could certainly use more direct flights, Indianapolis International has non-stop flights to San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Atlanta, Paris and many other business hubs.
The same business-friendly attitude holds true for the State of Indiana. We have one of the lowest costs of living in the nation—key for attracting world-class talent. Businesses here also enjoy low corporate, property and unemployment taxes. Under the leadership of Governor Eric Holcomb, dozens of high tech companies, including global giants like Salesforce and Infosys along with local startups like Formstack, Lessonly and SmarterHQ, have added thousands of jobs thanks to attractive tax incentives tied to job creation.
At Kerauno, we committed to creating 140 jobs and investing $5.2 million in Indiana thanks, in large part, to the fact that the public and private sectors get along so well here. While our neighbors in Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky are trying to boost their tech workforce, we must double down and work hard to add to the already positive business environment that exists in Indiana.
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?” asked Steve Jobs rhetorically. Jobs—arguably one of the great revolutionary inventors and thinkers of modern time-- knew, like my parents the educators, that changing the universe can only happen through pointed education and by spawning an atmosphere where critical thinking is encouraged and where businesses can grow. We’re blessed that Indianapolis and Indiana have visionary thinkers who have created such a climate that promotes success.
Our corporate mission statement is simple. At Kerauno, “We exist to help people by creating a culture that fosters personal, professional and spiritual growth; leading to life-changing relationships.” As a company, we have tremendous relationships with our city and state. Ultimately those relationships will help us attract more skilled and highly-compensated employees who will, in turn, contribute to and become part of the fabric of our community. Let’s foster these kinds of private-public partnerships, so we can all help more people.
Josh Ross is Kerauno CEO and Chairman of the Board.