In 2014, there was great pride among Delaware tech leaders that the community had begun — that was a year of starts, after all. Surely, there were more beginnings in 2015 — Zip Code Wilmington’s launch and Girl Develop It’s arrival here — but many seemed more focus on bringing new faces into the ecosystem. Because the pipeline is here, if new, and the goal for retaining technologists and growing businesses is clear.
That was a thread during an afternoon lunchtime discussion of stakeholders convened by Technical.ly to begin Delaware Innovation Week 2015 presented by 1313 Innovation. Two dozen members of the community — startups leaders, technologists, incubator managers, policymakers and business executives — were there to share their own perspectives on how Delaware is faring in the development of the state’s tech and entrepreneurship community.
“In 2014 it was a lot of the same people in the room saying we need to do this, we need to do that. Now when you’re having a conversation with [people new to Delaware tech] they’re more interested,” said Nick Matarese, the founder of Wilmington design agency Barn Creative. “Before, I felt like you showed up and it was the same people. Now there are new people in the room all the time.”
Partly it’s a national story. Post-recession and amid a movement of big companies replacing R&D with acquisitions, every region in the country is working on touting its own entrepreneurship community. So the bet is that Delaware, a state of 900,000, has more people who benefit from and contribute to this locally minded group of technologists, founders and interested business leaders. They just don’t what’s here yet — because they work elsewhere or surround themselves in other circles.