Supporting Innovators, Supporting St. Louis
By Carter Williams
The Midwest is different than Silicon Valley.
Where they have deep roots in silicon development, software and other IT fields, we bring different skills to the table.
St. Louis knows agriculture and was home to much of the Human Genome Project; now it’s putting that expertise to work in healthcare innovation and agtech. Detroit knows automotive; now it’s a leader in autonomous vehicle development. Kansas City knows telecommunications (Sprint and Garmin are both there, and its central U.S. location made it a communications hub as far back as the telegraph days); now local entrepreneurs there are working on the next big communications tools. Technology is happening in these areas, it’s just of a different sort than what’s happening in Silicon Valley.
That presents a unique opportunity for the region.
From healthcare IT, to pharmaceutical development, to agriculture technology, energy innovation and more, Midwest startups are working on solving some of the biggest problems of our day. We see this every day in our portfolio companies, including Cofactor Genomics.
One of the nice things about my office at iSelect is that I can look out my window and see the laboratory where the Human Genome Project was conducted.
People don’t understand how much economic opportunity that has created for the St. Louis region, but if you look down our block we have a half-billion dollars of development right now in buildings that are being built for new research labs. We have a billion-and-a-half more dollars of development that’s planned for that region over the next couple of years.
Everybody does something special, and what St. Louis did special was really uncover and unlock the DNA sequence. And now that’s having a major impact in the pharmaceutical area and in the agricultural area.
And it’s all because St. Louis made an investment in this technology 25-30 years ago. We invested in those resources, and they’re paying major dividends right now in the form of real tangible development and real jobs that are being created.
That’s what’s special about St. Louis. A lot of other places have that same expertise, and with community investment and community support, those areas can grow. They can build billions of dollars of investment too, because the world needs solutions to these problems.
But they didn’t do it there. St. Louis did. St. Louis took the risk and is reaping the rewards.
So, for investors from outside the Midwest, the message is, don’t sleep on St. Louis. Come here because we have cutting edge tech happening in a whole host of different industries. Come here because we’re doing some of the best work in the world in agriculture and healthcare. Come here to invest in big, world-changing innovations.
There is so much happening in the Midwest that needs our support, and that’s why iSelect is dedicated to helping make those plans a reality.
Carter Williams is CEO of iSelect.