The chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based startup connector Powderkeg says surveys of eight emerging tech hubs show Middle America is more than holding its own when it comes to scaling technology startups. But Matt Hunckler is quick to add that Indiana and other heartland regions face a daunting challenge: talent. “When you benchmark the fastest growing tech companies in the heartland against the fastest growing tech companies in the Valley, they are actually scaling faster,” said Hunckler. “That’s great, but there’s also a challenge there, because you have to meet the talent demands as these companies grow and scale.”
In an interview on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick, Hunckler talked about the Powderkeg surveys and next steps in helping accelerate tech growth in Indiana and beyond.
Powderkeg’s tech census is a national project involving tech workers, companies, educators and thought leaders across the country. In 2018, Powderkeg conducted the surveys in eight markets—Indianapolis, Denver, Boulder. Cincinnati, Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
Not surprisingly, the survey results show talent recruitment as the largest and most costly hurdle for scaling tech companies and Hunckler says attention will be placed on the talent pipeline from Indiana’s robust roster of colleges and universities and beyond. “We’re very focused on helping that talent, not just from the universities, but even outside of tech or in tech companies as they get acquired or grow in scale, looking for that next step in their career,” said Hunckler. “We want to help facilitate those connections.”
Powderkeg is planning more tech census studies in 2019, focused on company culture and culture fit. New census markets include Kansas City and Raleigh/Durham.