A few days ago a local business scribe (Norm Heikens, Indianapolis Business Journal) posed an intriguing question about the growth and development of Indianapolis technology companies. In a blog post entitled, "Internet marketing software city?", Heikens posited that Indy is emerging as a leader in the software as a service (SAAS) arena, and that the city and its tech leadership are well-positioned to take advantage of this important B2B niche.
With companies such as Aprimo, ExactTarget, Compendium Blogware, Interactive Intelligence, Cantaloupe and others, Indianapolis has important pieces of the puzzle in place to make a name for itself in SAAS. Indeed, Chris Baggott, founder of Compendium Software explains that Indianapolis has "quietly become the Internet marketing software capital of the world."
Heikens' IBJ post puts the number of employees in this particular tech sector at about a thousand people. Not bad for a middle-of-the-country city with higher aspirations as a technology player.
This discussion typifies one of the major challenges facing Indianapolis. We don't lack for talented technology people and companies, nor a skilled workforce (thanks to Indiana and Purdue universities.) Where we come up short is confidence in sharing our story with tech centers on the coasts, and developing a bit of swagger about the city's capabilities.
The encouraging news is the presence of tech leaders like Baggott, Mark Hill, Don Brown, Scott Jones and others who aren't shy about trumpeting the local tech community.
What we need is a transfusion of hubris - not to the point of annoyance - but enough to push forward with more tech start-ups, and to seek out significantly larger sums of start-up investment dollars. The pieces are in place, Indy simply must seize its moment.