Des Moines — A Surprisingly Good Place to Build a Software Company

One asset of our founding team is its diverse expertise: we brought sufficient experience and knowledge to cover the bases necessary to get off and running. Leveraging overlapping skillsets, we were able to research and identify a market opportunity, draft a business plan, raise seed financing, conduct market research, create a product roadmap, and start building.

Now, as we have a better sense of the technical requirements to get our product to market, it’s time to build the team. As we’re 100% focused on product launch as a milestone, all near-term hiring will on the engineering side.

And our first need was a front-end developer who could complement the strength of our CTO on the back-end. This was not an easy lift — we were looking for not just competence and technical ability, but also cultural fit and leadership potential.

This begs the question — which I hear continually from friends of mine on the coasts — of whether the talent exists in a place like Des Moines to build cutting-edge software. In contrast to the well-publicized successes of Silicon Valley, there is an assumption that a business located in the midwest is compromising on talent. From personal experience — both professionally as well as my exposure to the local startup community — I discount this entirely.

There is a pool of incredibly gifted developers in Des Moines. Without question, this pool is not as large as Silicon Valley, or Boston, or New York, but it doesn’t have to be: when we’re competing for talent in Polk County, candidates are often weighing our offer against opportunities at more traditional businesses — insurance companies, manufacturers, government.

In comparison to higher-profile markets, the ratio of talented software developers to startups is much, much higher in Polk County vs. Silicon Valley. Des Moines is a great place to start a software company.

So, with respect to hiring: so far, so good.

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