Despite fears of an economic slow-down Indiana is still attracting tech employers
Over the past three years, companies across the globe have adjusted to evolving expectations of how, when, where, and even why employees choose to work. Zillow Group CEO Rich Barton coined the phrase ”The Great Reshuffling” to describe this tectonic shift of new habits and norms as we find better, more efficient, and healthier ways to live and work. Indiana, it would seem, has the value bet in this economic game of cards, because even though some hyperbolic headlines have world economies slipping into another recession, the great Hoosier state is still attracting new tech employers by the handful.
In my capacity as a relationship manager and champion of our company-hunting initiative at TechPoint, I’ve had a unique vantage point on the decision-making process of fast-growing companies from coast to coast that have chosen to expand in or relocate to Indiana. We pursue these covetable job creators in partnership with Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and our sister initiatives under the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) umbrella, including AgriNovus (agbioscience), BioCrossroads (life sciences) and Conexus Indiana (advanced manufacturing and logistics).
Why tech companies relocate to Indiana
The primary reasons I hear from companies that are either selecting Indiana as a new or second headquarters or expanding existing operations in the state are four-fold: they are addressing primary pain points of attracting talent and controlling costs, as well as seeking more and better quality of place and community.
The availability of talent is the number one issue for every tech employer and Indiana’s collection of top research institutions and nationally ranked colleges and universities is a big plus. Programs that help to vett and on-ramp top matriculating tech performers are also making it easier for companies to choose the state, including programs like the Orr Fellowship, TechPoint’s own Xtern “ultimate tech internship” program and forthcoming adult apprenticeships, and Ascend Indiana’s local capacity building and recruitment consulting services.
The cost of doing business in Indiana is dramatically different from the calculus necessary to stay afloat compared to the overheated, high-tax and high operation cost legacy tech hubs on the Coasts, especially for tech startups and scale-ups. Tech employers are finding that Indiana allows them to be more capital-efficient and nimble, which sets the stage for them to more quickly get ahead of the competition.
Quality of Place
The significant boost in buying power in the Midwest is well documented, but it’s much more than the cost of doing business alone, or employees being able to buy a house near good schools for about one-third to one quarter the cost on the Coasts. It’s also possible for employees to quickly get engaged in community affairs and take on leadership roles.
Perhaps our state’s secret weapon, being a community that is giving and helpful to tech employers is much more rare than one might think. Indiana excels at connectivity whether it’s plugging new companies into our unique infrastructure that is designed to help tech businesses grow or proximity and access to accelerators and global leaders in critical industries like steel, RV, engine and other heavy manufacturing giants; motorsports; and health/healthcare related industries like pharmaceuticals and medical devices. In Indiana, fast-growing tech firms can advance from unknown to known, and break through the crowded cacophony of the tech space. The state and local governments as well as NGOs value relationships with newcomers and don’t consider them a rounding error. They are celebrated.
A track record of success
Over the past several years, Indiana has seen more than its fair share of tech product and service as well as tech-enabled company growth. The state and its major metros are routinely listed among the “fastest-growing cities for tech jobs” and other variations of the accolade from editors and research studies. From large companies like Salesforce, Genesys and Infosys to high-growth startups and scale-ups, the decision to relocate or expand in a new location is complex. Here are several of the most recent wins for Indiana:
- UKG: Workforce management and human resources platform with deep roots and a large workforce in Indianapolis, has announced plans to expand its Indianapolis operations by 200 workers within three years and invest nearly $1 million.
- ShipSigma: SaaS analytics, contract analysis, and negotiation solution is investing $2 million to grow its global reach in the logistics sector. The company plans to add up to 125 employees by the end of 2026.
- MetroStar: Washington DC-based digital information technology company MetroStar has announced plans to expand its operations in Indiana and create 100 jobs over the next five years at its Bloomington location, which serves as the firm’s second headquarters.
- Prevounce: Growing med-tech startup, which moved to Indianapolis from Los Angeles. Prevounce recently landed $4.5 million in Series A funding and has big expansion plans in Indiana, including doubling its current staff of 19 within the next few months.
- Intelinair: Moving to Indianapolis, Intelinair celebrated its grand opening in May to celebrate the opening of its new headquarters in Indianapolis. The precision agriculture startup uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help farmers pinpoint potential problems with their crops.
- Stellantis: Chrysler parent Stellantis will build its next $2.5 billion lithium-ion electric vehicle battery plant in Indiana, where the automaker already has several facilities. The project, which will create 1,400 new jobs and could surpass the $3 billion mark once it’s complete, is Stellantis’ first battery plant in the U.S. and its fifth worldwide.
- Skywater Technologies: The Minnesota-based, semiconductor manufacturer, plans to build a $1.8 billion semiconductor R&D and production facility in West Lafayette. The project is expected to create 750 jobs over five years.
The significance of the potentially $4.8 billion in new jobs and investment deals with Stellantis and Skywater can’t be understated. These economic development wins place the Hoosier state at the center of two of the highest growth and cross-industry essential markets for years to come. And the ancillary operations expected to grow up around these new EV battery and semiconductor manufacturing facilities will also be a boon for the state.
TechPoint is focused on accelerating this growth by injecting important ingredients like talent, capital, connection, and promotion into the ecosystem. These efforts are coupled with additional horsepower from TechPoint’s parent company, the CICP network, including complementary talent-focused ecosystem organizations, aggressive venture capital partners, and several accelerator programs and venture studios.
Not convinced? At just the half-way mark in 2022, Hoosier tech companies have already attracted more than $215 million in fresh investment into their operations. This activity shows that Indiana companies are considered good bets by in-state and out-of-state investors and indicates that the promise the tech ecosystem offers to tech workers and entrepreneurs is credible.
Are you ready to relocate to Indiana?
If you’re in a leadership role at a tech company headquartered outside of Indiana or a growing tech company already in the state, and you’re looking to understand how growing in Indiana could be a part of your company’s future, drop me (Jordan Isaacs) a line at email@example.com. I would love to share more about the state and our capital city and explore together how you can do more than grow your company here: you can join a tech community that wants you to succeed and will help you do it.