When VCs overlook the U.S. Midwest, it's not just Chicago they are missing out on. Over time, many cities across the Midwest have been building out bona fide startup ecosystems, as M25's annual ranking of Midwest startup hubs makes clear.
Each year, the Chicago-based VC firm puts together a list of the Midwest's most active tech scenes, using a wide range of criteria. And each year, there are surprises, even for M25's own team.
The main surprise of 2022? That Indianapolis overtook Pittsburgh's third spot, M25 managing partner Victor Gutwein told TechCrunch.
Gutwein was surprised by the change in ranking, but it wasn't entirely out of the blue: He knows the underlying factors that helped Indy race ahead. This understanding is precisely why we pinged him for comments on what's cooking in the Midwest.
In our discussion, we talked about Indy and Chicago, of course, but also about college towns, public funding done right and more.
Editor’s note: This interview was conducted in two parts and has been edited for length and clarity.
TechCrunch: In M25's latest list, which ranking change in the 2022 dataset compared to 2021 is the most surprising?
Victor Gutwein: I figured Indianapolis could and would eventually surpass Pittsburgh but didn't know it would happen this year because there wasn't a “signature” major fundraise or exit or new fund announced.