What Inc. Missed About the Des Moines Startup Scene

It’s a double-edged sword when global media run stories about Des Moines.

October 24, 2018
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It’s a double-edged sword when global media run stories about Des Moines. While we’re humbled and excited to have our city recognized for its awesomeness, we’re also a bit like, “Shhh, don’t tell anyone.” Many of us like living in a best-kept secret. So when Inc. Magazine ran its super optimistic piece, Why the Next Great Startup Will Come from Des Moines, our team read it (and reread it) with enthusiasm and a smidge of dread. Could an article like this flood our town with entrepreneurs hungry for a fertile environment? It sure could; entrepreneurs are nothing if not nomadic. I moved literally across the world to find the best place to launch and scale a fintech business.

The Most Important Benefits of the Des Moines Startup Scene

In many respects, the Inc. article was spot-on. There were, however, two really important benefits to building a company in Des Moines the author missed. In addition to offering startups an eager and involved government, proximity to ISU and a slew of heavy-hitter insurance leaders, Des Moines has a couple more really important attributes.

First, there’s a proven willingness among our robust and open-door investor scene to finance “entrepreneurs, idealists and the movements they’ve built.” (Shout out to Guy Raz.)
Second, our financial services community – a sector rich with incumbents hungry for innovation – is incredibly strong and active in the pursuit of digital transformation.

Financial Technology Companies in Iowa

Great things are happening at the intersection of these communities in Des Moines. The Iowa Credit Union League, Wells Fargo, Bankers Trust and other very strong local financial institutions attract the attention of payment processors like CO-OP Financial Services, PSCU and Shazam, each of which has planted a sizable flag in Des Moines. Mash them together with venture capital firms, like Next Level Ventures and Plains Angels, or cooperative investors like Veridian Credit Union, and that’s when the magic really happens.

All that said, the role of civic leaders cannot be overstated. It absolutely matters that the state’s central business hub is also home to our state’s government. Local leaders are available and make time to interact with business. The governor of Iowa attended our launch party; a clear indication she believes in the power of startups to advance the Iowa economy. A local government can't create a startup scene, but there is a lot they can do to support it. It’s happening in Iowa, but shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Do You Want to Support the Des Moines Startup Scene?

At LenderClose, we love the Des Moines startup scene. So if you’re looking to get started or learn how we can help your Financial Institution digitize your lending process, get in touch with us today!

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