I often joke that when I started my first business 30-some years ago, there were about two tech employees in the state of Indiana. And the other one worked with me. Investors, clients, peers and even my family begged the question, "Why do this in Indiana?"
If you associate yourself with good, quality people and work on good, quality products, incredible things happen. That is why I chose Indiana for not one, but three firms, and that is why innovation is multiplying in the Hoosier state.
Today, I’m proud to be part of a booming tech community in central Indiana that supports more than 77,000 good-paying jobs, including more than 1,000 at Interactive Intelligence here in Indiana, and a total of 2,000 global employees worldwide. Roughly half of our more than 2,000 associates worldwide work here in Indiana. The sector is growing at a rate of 18 percent, which is more than triple the national growth rate of tech jobs, and we’re showing no signs of slowing down.
Each week, we learn of another entrepreneur choosing to expand in Indiana or another global firm planning to locate here. Chicago-based Geofeedia plans to create 336 jobs here, while Rook Security is adding another 132 more. Appirio recently relocated its headquarters to Indianapolis from San Francisco, and Austria-based Emarsys picked Indiana for its North American headquarters.
Companies like GyanSys, Eleven Fifty, TCC Software Solutions, iLAB, Innolance, Braden Business Systems, Blue Horseshoe Solutions, Odyssey and, most recently, DuraMark Technologies and Lumavate, are choosing Indiana. Now, Salesforce.
For years, the ExactTarget orange was a staple in Indianapolis. We watched in awe as an idea that was born by four innovators on a napkin at a coffee shop grew, developing new marketing and analytics solutions to help customers across the globe grow their brands. The company grew its technologies, its client list, its headcount and its office space time and again, earning a coveted spot on the New York Stock Exchange and drawing the attention of San Francisco’s largest technology employer and a global leader in cloud-based CRM.
Salesforce had no previous tie to Indianapolis. With offices across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil, the company could expand anywhere. But, like many others before them, Salesforce is choosing Indiana for growth. With plans to create 800 new, high-wage jobs, Salesforce will nearly double the size of its current team here and will re-brand the state’s tallest building as Salesforce Tower Indianapolis.
Why do this in Indiana?
Because we have a great business climate that supports innovation. Low costs and low taxes allow job creators to invest more resources into their businesses and their employees. Limited regulations make it easy to grow here, freeing up time, which is perhaps an entrepreneur’s most coveted gift.
Because we have great universities turning out lots of talented graduates. Because the public and private sectors work effectively together in an effort to improve conditions for everybody. And because Hoosiers are basically honest, hard-working, loyal people who get along well with others around the world.
Why do this in Indiana?
The answer is clear. Hoosier businesses like Interactive Intelligence are solving 21st Century challenges and developing technologies that are used across the globe. A bright blue cloud on Indianapolis’ skyline sends a strong signal that Indiana has secured a major role in the future of technology and innovation, and it will advance our efforts to attract and retain top talent to fill the jobs we continue to create.
Don Brown is chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Interactive Intelligence Inc.