When people think of geographic centers for tech advancement, a few key markets come to mind, mostly Silicon Valley. But innovation is happening all over the United States - in particular, Texas!
I don’t want to focus on Texas just because I call Dallas home; Texas is a state with a rich technology history (ever hear of the microchip?) and an environment ripe for entrepreneurs. In fact, Texas ranks third nationally in Fortune 500 companies and comes in fourth largest in VC funding - with Austin (aka Silicon Hills), Dallas and Houston grabbing the lion’s share of the $800M in venture capital distributed in Q1 2019. The state also comes in second (behind California) for its net tech employment, attracting a whole new wave of highly-skilled and educated workers looking to take advantage of new growth opportunities.
All of these factors have made Texas a growing contender as a global tech powerhouse. As Texas governor Greg Abbott put it, “From biotech and defense tech to wearable tech and clean tech, technologies developed in the Lone Star State are changing the world in which we live."
All this is to say it’s about time that entrepreneurs, investors and tech talent across the U.S. pay more serious attention to the Lone Star state. And that means marketers and PR professionals in and outside the region should consider how to take advantage of all Texas has to offer the tech world:
- (Literally) rethink your competitive landscape. While many tech entrepreneurs focus on the Bay Area, they shouldn’t assume the most threatening competition will be limited to just down the street. Projects like the AllianceTexas mobility innovation zone, which will serve as a testbed for the future of transportation, is happening near Forth Worth, not Palo Alto. And while some regions think they have the lock on cryptocurrency innovation, cities like Houston are putting fresh-thinking startups on the map. Needless to say, don’t underestimate how quickly a fledgling startup can become a market leader in this funded and fertile ground.
- Support business growth by exploring regional partnerships. Texas hosts a universe of corporate and not-for-profit organizations that can take your organization to the next level. Tech businesses can take advantage of relationships with Texas-based distributors, technology leaders and universities (like the University of Texas at Austin’s IC2 Institute, Texas Tech Innovation Hub at Research Park or UTSA) to research, develop, co-market or launch new solutions more quickly than ever before.
- Attract federal dollars by working angles outside of Washington, D.C. If you think most of the government's innovation centers around the nation’s capital, you’d be wrong. The Army’s Futures Command located in Austin, for example, is getting a $50M cash infusion from the University of Texas to build a new robotics research center and act as the hub for the command’s five research areas. Austin is also home to the Defense Innovation Unit, which was created to lead DoD outreach to commercial innovation hubs. Systems integrators and other industry solution providers are flocking to opportunities like these. Those who want to win government business will need to be able to market on the ground in the region, and not just maintain a presence near the Hill.
Are you a Texas-based company looking to grow your business, or a tech company trying to reach, engage and influence buyers in the region? Contact Dallas-based Merritt Group-er, Melissa Chadwick at email@example.com.