If you don't think of Lincoln, Nebraska, as a tech hub today, you probably will soon. A growing number of tech entrepreneurs are calling Lincoln home, and several have been recognized by Bloomberg and profiled by NPR in stories about the emerging "Silicon Prairie." Buzz is growing around the tech scene in Lincoln, and people are starting to notice. Connected people. People like Steve Case, founder of AOL, who kicked off his 2016 Rise of the Rest Road Trip at Lincoln Startup Week. So what is it about Lincoln that's grabbing so much attention? According to locals, it's the community.
"Lincoln and its technology community provide a remarkable level of support and encouragement," says Blake Lawrence, CEO of opendorse, a company that connects marketers with athletes to build social media campaigns. "Founders openly root for each other to succeed, and the community does a great job of rallying around the successes of individual companies and the community as a whole."
"I've been to a lot of communities and I've seen what separates Lincoln is the actual desire to help out," says Cory Scott, founder and CEO of LiveBy, a location mapping-technology with a core focus on real estate and homebuyers. "Everyone is very interested in what the progress has been like, how can they help, who can they connect you with – and that's just a daily occurrence."
LiveBy got its start at NMotion, a startup accelerator founded by managing director Brian Ardinger.
"Living and working in Lincoln, you can have an impact immediately," says Ardinger. "It's easy to access the different parts of the ecosystem, whether it's funders, mentors, or fellow founders. There are always only one or two degrees of separation."
Some of the other ways Lincoln tech and startup folks like to connect are networking events like Open Coffee and 1 Million Cups. Because in Lincoln, everything really comes back to the people.
"Our people are our greatest asset – it’s not hard to find hard-working, passionate employees who want to join you in your mission," says Brooke Jensen, operations manager at opendorse.