What Increased Investment Interest Means for Midwest Start-ups

Feb 13, 2019 Emily Brungard

Marketing Trends, Torchlite

If you’ve paid attention to the technology world over the last several years, you’re well aware of the changing landscape of investments being made in U.S. companies. From investments made locally to funds exclusively for companies in the heartland to the great migration to the “Silicon Prairie,” it’s no secret that things are heating up in the Midwest.
Matt Garratt, Managing Partner of Salesforce Ventures, shared that of the 53 investments Salesforce Ventures made in U.S.-based startups last year, 65 percent of the 53 U.S.-based were outside of Silicon Valley.
One of those investments was Torchlite.
According to Torchlite CEO, Susan Marshall, the uptick in non-coastal investments is a good sign for both entrepreneurs and the people they employ. An increase in investment dollars means that new companies can retain top talent. It also means they can attract additional talent from the coasts.
“We’re still in desperate need of tech talent across the board – whether that’s developers, UX/UI designers, or product managers. We also still don’t have access to the funding here in the Midwest like they do on the coasts,” Marshall said. “That’s changing though, and it’s exciting to see things heating up as investors recognize the potential the Midwest has to offer.”
It’s no surprise that the Midwest is getting more attention from investors and highly-skilled talent looking to make a move. One reason it’s attracting attention? The culture of innovation found throughout the Midwest, paired with a deeply supportive and collaborative group of entrepreneurs, is unmatched by any other region.

“It’s exciting to see things heating up as investors recognize the potential the Midwest has to offer.” –Susan Marshall, Torchlite CEO

“The Midwest tech scene is a lot different than Silicon Valley. While at Adobe, Apple, and Salesforce, I worked with some of the brightest minds in the world, but I did see a lot of folks burn out,” Marshall said. “Here, there is more of a sense of family and balance that it makes for a more relaxed, yet still very competitive work environment. The camaraderie makes it fun, and helps us recruit the best and the brightest.”
“[Salesforce Ventures has] three investments in Indiana, which isn’t too surprising because ExactTarget (which was acquired by Salesforce for $2.5 billion in 2013) was headquartered there,” Garratt said. “It became a big portion of our marketing cloud, so there’s a lot [of companies] spinning out of there.”
As investors increasingly recognize the heartland’s growing talent pool, more and more start-ups will be able to solve the problems that individual consumers, businesses and even entire industries face.
“I was drawn to launch Torchlite because I saw that marketers were struggling. Digital marketing is evolving so rapidly they can’t find the resources they need to get their work done. Marketing teams need both full-time employees and contractors to manage everything on their plate and it’s hard. No other platform was offering both the talent and the technology marketers really needed to get everything done.”
As marketing skills become more niche and platform-specific, the need for on-demand technical experts will only increase. Like Garratt shared with VentureBeat, “as people and their skillsets are changing so rapidly, they need to ensure that those skillsets are relevant in the workforce.”
Increasing demand for those technical skills and a desire for flexible work arrangements has led to a boom in highly talented, on-demand martech experts. To make sure you’re working with only the best, make sure you’re using a certified Torchlite expert — we accept only the top 4% of applicants into our marketplace. Learn more and request an expert today.
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