2020 was rough. But it wasn’t all bad.
You’re not alone if you’re breathing a sigh of relief that 2020 is in your rear-view mirror. Too many of us are mourning the loss of friends and family as a result of the pandemic and the effects of racial injustice.
But there were bright spots in the 365 days that comprised 2020, too. Chief among them from our perspective is a tech sector wide commitment to bringing equity and opportunity to all.
Here’s a brief look back at the year in tech. Tell us the positives we missed that you will remember from 2020, the year when:
Virtual became our reality as “You’re on mute,” became the most repeated sentence of the year.
Dozens of tech companies and organizations pivoted their in-person big events to mostly good reviews. The Mira Awards gala attracted its biggest crowd ever via live broadcast. Demand for Zoom, Teams, Spaces (now Filo) and Google Meets skyrocketed and proved to skeptical employers that, indeed, some workers can be just as productive, if not more productive, as when they are working in the office.
Some areas of the tech sector surged.
Esports, cybersecurity, ed-tech, delivery services and cloud-based meeting and governance platforms saw huge surges in demand. Essentially, if it helps to facilitate the formerly in-person, or secure the infrastructure to do so, 2020 was likely a positive growth year.
Indy gained heightened brand awareness.
The ability to WFH sparked ideas that you could work from anywhere and legacy tech hubs took a hit as people took the opportunity to relocate in areas where they could have a better quality of life even in the midst of a pandemic.
Indy collected new accolades for being a “Best of” from Entrepreneur and Chief Executive magazines, Zillow, SmartAsset, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and more.
We saw an increase in Indy being chosen or considered for headquarters by Pondurance, and some still under discussion — all of whom had credible options in other cities but chose to remain and grow here as they acquired or partnered with organizations in other regions.
16 Tech and Bottleworks gained national attention for their development.
Investment slowed but has begun recovering.
The pandemic affected Indiana’s tech investment, but efforts did not wane via TechPoint’s VC Speed Dating and one-on-one outreach, which helped spur continued activity by out-of-state investment funds, newly opened Indiana offices by investment firms, and continued growth and activity by venture studios and accelerators. In 2020, VC Speed Dating brought in 28 venture capital firms representing $2.6 billion in funds from 15 different states. These firms took part in nearly 200 meetings with 32 investable Indiana tech companies. In total, more than $174 million in funding was announced by Indiana tech companies in 2020, with 75 Indiana tech companies earning investments from venture capital funds, private equity funds or growth funds and grants.
Opportunity for all gains momentum.
People of color have been underrepresented in the tech sector for far too long and we’ve created momentum as a community for that to change. Some positive moves:
- TechPoint’s Path to Equity in Indiana Tech, the Indy Racial Equality Pledge.
- Cincinnati-based Lightship Capital took note of Indiana’s focus on equity for marginalized people and chose to expand here to be part of our solution. Lightship is the largest-ever VC fund raised by a Black woman in the U.S. They have something like $50 million to invest locally.
- Be Nimble Foundation & Black Hatch Fund continued working to address need for an increase in entrepreneurship with black tech founders, while also helping them build ideas that can scale during a recession, pandemic, or crisis. Their events brought together more than 3,000 attendees and raised over $100,000 for black tech founders. Pitch Pard eight of the best and brightest black tech startup founders in Indianapolis.
- DeliverEnd begun scaling into 20 of the biggest cities across the country, giving the company founded by Nick Turner the potential to become a prime integrated delivery partner for Big Four consumer marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp and NextDoor and make Nick Indiana’s first black unicorn.
None of these positive things happened by accident. In the midst of a devastating pandemic, Indy tech rose up, fought back and moved the needle forward. Take a moment as you dive into 2021 to remember that. Let’s build on it together, making sure everyone has the same opportunity to succeed.