The key to success for tech startups and aspiring tech hub cities is the quality of their trust network. This is the true “secret” to Silicon Valley success. It isn’t a place; it’s a trust network. Established access points to the Silicon Valley Trust Network include attending top universities like Stanford, working at successful companies like Google, or going through accelerator programs like Y-Combinator. The good news is that access to the Trust Network has never been more accessible.
On April 4th, One America Works partnered with Comeback Capital and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest to host the Semi-Annual Connecting the Coast to the Heartland event in Cleveland, OH. The event brought together over 250 attendees from 20 different cities, connecting local entrepreneurs with proven success on a global scale with investors and organizations from outside of Cleveland.
One thing everyone in attendance can agree on? Cleveland has a lot to offer.
Spotify agrees and acquired Cleveland based leading audiobook platform, Findaway, for $120M. Surprisingly, Mitch Kroll built a competitor to Amazon Kindle in Cleveland. As the name suggests, as many Heartland companies do, they Find-A-Way to succeed. “Once I started working with Spotify, they immediately said something is going on in Cleveland. They have a sense of pride and commitment to both their work and their team. That commitment and pride allow them to grow,” said Mitch.
Mitch’s success isn’t the only one that helped highlight the rise of Cleveland. Steve Case, the founder of AOL and Revolution Ventures, highlighted the strength of Cleveland and recalled that he started his first Rise of the Rest bus tour in Cleveland in 2014 kicking off what has become his successful fund and new book The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream. Steve’s simple advice for smaller cities is to invest in their tech ecosystems and leverage their strengths in legacy industries to develop future innovations.
One America Works is committed to connecting the national innovation economy and expanding the trust network to more people in more places across the country. We are convening online events – OAW Connect – and planning our next in-person pillar event, The Mid-Point Conference in Nashville, Oct 25-26. Our conference in Cleveland sold out a month before the event. If you’re interested in expanding your Trust Network in Nashville, sign up here for early access.