The Tech Migration to Middle America Continues

Posted on January 7, 2019

There was a time when establishing a potentially high-profile tech company meant setting up shop in Silicon Valley or New York was a foregone conclusion. In many cases, there are a number of entrepreneurs and venture capitalist that still believe this to be a necessity for success. And sure, there are benefits to being in these areas.

However, there are also a growing number of detriments. The traditional tech hubs are continually becoming overcrowded, and the costs of operating and living are reaching unreasonable levels as a result. Thus, we’re continually seeing a shift to other parts of the country. is the most recent corporation to make headlines with such a move, relocating its headquarters from the Bay Area to Texas’ capital city of Austin. The digital lottery powerhouse has a new 10,000-square-foot office technically located in Bee Cave, an Austin suburb. This space is now home to’s executive team along with its marketing, growth, and domestic engineering divisions. 

The company released a statement clarifying the move from Silicon Valley was a result of being drawn to a more favorable business environment. That includes a better cost of living and increased talent growth away from the coasts, among other things. 

That’s a sentiment an increasing number of entrepreneurs are beginning to echo. It’s not just with Texas either, though Austin has appropriately earned the nickname Silicon Hills. Even at Engine, our CEO John James has a special vision for what’s capable in our Northwest Arkansas region.

I’m hopeful Engine will provide further proof that a world-class tech company can indeed be built in Northwest Arkansas, and that additional early-stage investment capital will flood into the area.

John James, Engine E-Commerce CEO

If Walmart can build a retail empire in Northwest Arkansas, why can’t great things in e-commerce and tech be accomplished as well? That’s part of the motivation and thought process while also enjoying the benefits of an affordable cost of living. And Engine is far from the only tech company in this area pushing that vision.

There’s a similar movement occurring in areas such as Ann Arbor, Columbus, and Salt Lake City. This is just the beginning, too. There’s little reason to believe things will become less crowded or cheaper on the coasts. So, the move in tech for 2019 and beyond appears to increasingly be shifting toward the Heartland.