When VCs ignore midwest US, they’re missing out on more than just Chicago. Over time, many Midwestern cities have built bona fide startup ecosystems, such as M25’s annual ranking of Midwest startup hubs clarifies.
Each year, the Chicago-based venture capital firm compiles a list of the most active tech scenes in the Midwest using a broad set of criteria. And every year there are surprises, even for M25’s own team.
The main surprise of 2022? That Indianapolis overtook third-place Pittsburgh, M25’s managing partner Victor Gutwein said TechCrunch.
Gutwein was surprised by the standings change, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected: He knows the main factors that helped Indy race forward. That understanding is exactly why we sought him out for commentary on what’s cooking in the Midwest.
In our discussion, we talked about Indy and Chicago, of course, but also college towns, proper public funding, and much more.
Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted in two parts and has been edited for length and clarity.
TechCrunch: In the latest M25 list, which ranking change in the 2022 data set compared to 2021 was the most surprising?
Victor Gutwein: I figured Indianapolis could and would eventually surpass Pittsburgh, but I didn’t know that would happen this year because there was no major fundraising “signing” or exit or new fund announced.