Record Year in Tech Investment; Continued Focus on Talent
Despite the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was a year of record-breaking activity and growth for the Indiana tech sector as nearly $960 million in capital was invested in the ecosystem while at the same time, TechPoint and its partners continued working to grow, attract and retain tech talent in an increasingly competitive landscape. More than 150 tech employers and educational providers around the state engaged and invested in TechPoint programs and events, representing startups and accelerators, global corporations, universities, and training providers. Those groups represent services including software, hardware, IT services, telecom, manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, healthcare, and life sciences. Nearly 185,000 Hoosiers were employed in these tech areas in 2021.
Due to internal restructuring, successful efforts to secure new resources and a new strategic plan, the TechPoint team ended the year the strongest and best positioned it has ever been. As such, it is better able to solidify central Indiana’s national reputation as a major tech hub and dramatically increase the number of tech jobs and companies in Indiana.
The fight to secure top tech talent is global, and TechPoint continued its focus on recruiting and retaining top tech-skilled students, post-graduates and career changers, primarily through the Xtern program (launched in 2014) which is designed to attract and retain entry level talent while encouraging them to view Indiana as a great place to begin or grow their tech careers, and the Summer Opportunities for Students (S.O.S.) Challenge (launched in 2020).
The 2021 Xtern class included 151 students from 20 states, six foreign countries and 35 U.S. universities. Muncie, Ind., became an Xtern “expansion city”, with TechPoint helping the Muncie Innovation Connector and area tech employers stand up an Xtern class and summer program. The 2021 S.O.S. Challenge class was composed of 170 students and recent non-profit coding academy graduates.
COMPANIES & CAPITAL
2021 capital investment in Indiana tech shattered all state records, with $958 million raised, including three of the state’s largest capital raises ever. Fifty-seven Hoosier tech companies engaged in merger and acquisition activity.
TechPoint’s two VC Speed Dating events brought in 36 venture capital firms from 15 different states representing nearly $8 billion in investible funds.
TechPoint also continued its partnership with the IEDC in lead development or augmentation of key tech projects in the state. TechPoint worked to identify prospects and met with more than 140 U.S. and international tech company leaders with a goal of securing moves or expansions from six companies by the end of 2021. Seven companies that TechPoint worked with chose to move or expand in Indiana.
TechPoint also played a role in helping IEDC secure some of the 43 tech and tech-enabled firms that in 2021 committed to the IEDC to grow in Indiana with plans to create up to 3,289 new jobs. Those projects account for about 10% of the more than 31,000 tech sector jobs created or retained in Indiana in 2021.
Pandemic restrictions on safely meeting in-person curtailed planned activities but didn’t stop TechPoint from convening events and encouraging relationship building within the community. TechPoint hosted or supported more than 40 events, including the Mira Awards, the CTO of the Year and Tech 25 awards, two VC Speed Dating events, and many events connecting the Xtern program participants to experts and leaders in the tech industry.
TechPoint also helped promote and plan several events to raise awareness and support for United Way of Central Indiana in an effort to make the tech sector more equitable and to lift up neighbors in need.
The 22nd annual – and second virtual – Mira Awards gala brought together the most diverse slate of judges, nominees and winners in the history of the celebration of Indiana tech. Sixteen award winners and honorees were chosen from 211 applications. The TechPoint Foundation for Youth used the gathering to launch a fundraising effort to provide digital tools to Hoosier children without access to the Internet or computers at home. Ultimately, the initiative provided 850 laptops, iPads, and hot spots for
TechPoint continued to promote the sector’s best and brightest, posting 166 articles on TechPointIndex.com, showcasing more than 2,000 tech job openings, promoting 114 tech-related community events and launching a video and podcast series, “The Circuit.” The TechPointIndex.com audience grew by about 24 percent.