It's a common misconception that outside of Silicon Valley and a few other places, there's not a lot of innovation going on in this country. The reality is that innovation has penetrated many corners of America. The same forces that are driving globalization – the Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) – are helping many U.S. cities to reboot themselves. Take Pittsburgh for instance. Formerly known as “Steel City," Pittsburgh has become a center for robotics. Similarly, Indianapolis in recent years has remade itself as a hub for marketing automation software.
Here's are five other cities that have become hubs where corporations can find startups to partner with and help drive innovation:
It's no secret that Austin has become a top-tier startup hub in recent years. There are a few reasons why, including the lack of a personal state income tax, relatively cheap real estate, and a vibrant tech scene. Austin ranked No. 1 in a recent Forbes list of cities creating the most tech jobs.
One interesting IoT startup in the city is Knocki. If you're of a certain age, you may remember the Clapper, a device that let you turn off the lights by clapping your hands. Knocki is the IoT update of this idea. It's a hockey puck-size device that you can attach to any surface and program it to do what you want, including shutting the lights off or alerting your phone if someone knocks on the door.
Chaotic Moon Studios, meanwhile, has developed VR games for Oculus Rift like Shark Punch and Death From Above. The company is also working on adding gesture controls to smart watches to make them more useful.
VitalHerd helps farmers learn more about their cows' health to avoid expensive diseases. The company uses a pill-like device that cows swallow. The device then transmits data to farmers about the animal's breathing rate, rumination rate, heart rate, and temperature.
Thanks to its bevy of strong universities like University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago is host to hundreds of startups. One is Uptake, which was launched by Groupon cofounder Brad Keywell and uses IoT technology to help companies like Caterpillar collect and analyze data to perform predictive maintenance. Another IoT startup, Amber Agriculture, uses sensors to monitor crops stored in grain bins. Such tools can be applied to construction as well. Flying Superintendents, for instance, uses drones to create 3D modeling for construction management.
Thanks to a growing population of tech enthusiasts, Denver is emerging as a tech hub. The list of startups to watch includes Mountain Drones, which uses drones to measure snowmelt in mountains and help optimize the water supply, and EDN, which markets a wall-mounted device that grows lettuce and other crops — just add water and the Wallgarden does the rest.
Another innovative startup in the Denver area is Building Brains, which aims to use IoT to help aging Americans navigate their environment.
4. Washington, D.C.
The northern Virginia area near Washington, D.C., has long been home to tech startups due to its proximity to government resources, deep talent pool, and lower cost of living. While not usually mentioned in the same breath as Silicon Valley or New York, the capital has a bumper crop of startups including AgSquared, which is attempting bring data-capture to agriculture; Pair, which lets consumers use their tablets and smartphones to enable augmented reality to envision how products might look in their homes; and Measure, which offers drones that can collect data about outdoor environments.
Seattle is home to giants Microsoft and Amazon, in addition to a growing technology ecosystem. Startups to watch include MicaSense, which uses drones to collect data on crops, and Resolution Tube, which uses augmented reality to help workers in the field fix and monitor equipment. Another interesting startup is Buddy, which connects IoT devices to one cloud-based platform, offering users transparency and real-time data.
Need help exploring the startup ecosystem?
If you need help identifying the right startup partners, regardless of geography, get in touch with RocketSpace. Our Corporate Innovation Services help corporations tap into the global startup ecosystem. Contact us to learn more.
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