Indianapolis has a burgeoning and thriving tech scene. Over the past decade, the city has been working to attract and support tech companies and startups, and this effort has paid off with the emergence of a robust and diverse tech scene.
The tech talent market has experienced a surge in growth over the last 10 years nationally, adding 136,000 jobs year over year with a total tech talent workforce of 5.5M (CBRE 2022). The tech industry in Indianapolis is no exception, and the heart of this burgeoning scene is located downtown. Demand for tech talent in Indianapolis is only rivaled by the demand for talent in the healthcare sector and to a lesser degree, the service industry (Lightcast 2023). The city has also made significant investments in its tech infrastructure, including a high-speed fiber optic network and a thriving co-working community. The local universities, including Purdue University and Indiana University, also offer strong tech programs and contribute to the talent pool in the area.
The city is in the midst of a shifting economy, declining office occupancy, increased hybrid work and the downtown business scene may never look like it did in 2019 again. However, the emerging tech market has been building momentum through innovation, while standing out as one of the more well positioned cities to take advantage of changing times.
Companies and entrepreneurs are drawn to a positive business climate in Indianapolis which features a low cost of living, excellent infrastructure, and strong support from the state. Indy was ranked in the top 3 Best startup cities by Midwest Startups in 2022, and in CNBC’s annual ranking of the Top State’s for Business 2022, Indiana ranked #1 in infrastructure, #2 in cost of doing business and top 10 in cost of living. In 2022, CBRE conducted a thorough study of the top 50 tech talent markets in North America, Indianapolis made the list coming in at #1 of U.S. markets in Lowest Cost to Operate for large tech firms. At a time when interest rates are soaring, and the future of the workplace in the balance, midwestern values have become increasingly appetizing to tech players and entrepreneurs.
The city is home to several established technology companies, including Salesforce, Angie's List, and Interactive Intelligence. In addition, and what makes Indianapolis particularly well positioned to adapt and grow its tech industry in the future, are the many smaller startups and firms that call Indianapolis home because of a supportive environment for entrepreneurs to thrive. Indianapolis has a rich ecosystem of startup incubators and accelerators like High Alpha Capital and Elevate Origins, a strong network of investors and governmental support, and a growing talent pipeline which saw a 5 year increase of 88% of total tech degrees in the labor pool (CBRE 2022).
High Alpha, one of the central players in the local Indy tech scene, who, according to their website, have launched 36 companies and have raised hundreds of millions in venture funds to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurs since their inception. High Alpha represents the spirit of the Indy tech scene, who aim to build something unique, an ecosystem that places emphasis on a finance and incubation community that can ‘Locally adjudicate the value of startups and entrepreneurial teams and support local innovation and continued investment according to Kristian Andersen in a recent Forbes article. Downtown Indy is generating momentum in the tech industry internally driven by the spirit of innovation, and with a business-friendly climate, low cost of living and growing talent pool, its likely this growth continues and will eventually attract significant outside capital investment as Indy makes a name for itself in the tech scene.
Indianapolis isn’t known as one of the glitzy tech markets, nor is it home to any of the blue-chip alphabet companies, but there is an argument to be made that Indy is coming onto the scene as an attractive tech market and one that will experience accelerated growth in the coming years. Indianapolis' strength is summed up by Mark Radzik.
“We’re never going to be a New York; we’re never going to be a Miami. We’re not going to be a Phoenix. What you do have is entrepreneurs who say, ‘I may not have gone to Harvard, but I’ll work real hard, and I’ll figure it out.'”
Mark Radzik, Found Partner of Granite Creek Capital Partners, interviewed by Forbes, Feb 23, 2023