SDN Blog

Sioux Falls recognized as 'promising tech hub'

Posted on Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Blog written by Super

Silicon Valley is synonymous with being home to some of the biggest and most influential technology companies.  But Sioux Falls is among ten communities now being recognized as petri dishes for new success in the tech industry.  They make up’s “Most Promising Tech Hubs to Watch in 2014.”

The technology website’s editorial staff did its research and looked into communities with several traits.  They heard from nearly 100 cities who wanted to make the list and found while many fit the bill, ten really stood out. 

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Burlington, VT
  • Champaign/Urbana, IL
  • Detroit, MI
  • Ft. Collins, CO
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Kansas City, KS/MO
  • Orlando, FL
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN

We are with some spectacular cities in this list.  And when you consider some of the factors was looking for, it’s pretty obvious why Sioux Falls made the list.  Let me take you through some of the key ones mentioned.

 “Presence of high-tech industrial parks and incubators/accelerators” directly gives the South Dakota Technology Business Center credit  offering “training and advice to up-and-coming tech businesses, as well as an accelerator program to fast track small businesses to success.”

This is where the city also gets credit for having innovative programs designed to encourage tech startup growth. Our own CEO Mark Shlanta was among the community leaders who helped with the Technology Business Center concept.

DocuTap is just one success story that started in and outgrew the Business Center.  The company creates software for health care providers to use on their mobile devices.  The company announced in October that it’s moving into a Downtown Sioux Falls building with 150 employees as it prepares for more growth.

Raven Industries also made headlines last year for their involvement in the Google Loon Project.  The company worked with Google quietly for a year to help deliver Internet to areas that face connectivity challenges.

And the EROS Data Center, which is just north of Sioux Falls city limits, takes connectivity to the next level by retrieving data and imagery from orbiting satellites for the USGS and NASA.

They’re just a couple examples of how the technology sector continues to find value in what Sioux Falls businesses have to offer.

“Cities that have, or are building out physical infrastructure including fiber optic rings; offer lower costs for utilities, and have available and low-cost office space”

Have you ever seen SDN Communications ’ fiber footprint?  It not only creates rings inside and around Sioux Falls, it extends well throughout South Dakota ans seven surrounding states to provide broadband connectivity to businesses across the region. 

Our low cost for utilities is also one of the major attractions to the SDN Data Center.  South Dakota has some of the lowest electricity costs in the nation, which helps when cooling server rooms.  It’s just one of the reasons that makes Sioux Falls an ideal location for data centers. (Take a look inside with a virtual tour.)

"People who are willing and anxious to spread the word about why their city is on the rise"

There are so many groups, large and small, that are actively sharing the news about growth, opportunities, and successes in Sioux Falls that you can’t name them all. But you can get an idea of the impact they’re having by the positive development in the city.  Just take a look at the news coming from the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce; Forward Sioux Falls; Sioux Falls Development Foundation; Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation

"Presence of one or more universities."

Take a look at the higher education available right here in Sioux Falls:

“A 'startup culture' evident with smaller, informal meetups, 'startup weekends' and co-working spaces.”

When the evolution of a Fortinue-500 company’s business model took Gateway out of the region, points out that many of the former employees took advantage of their training and found new ways to make money in the tech industry. 

Even back then, the state’s lack of an income tax, low cost of living, and competitive wages helped foster a “startup culture” and encourage tech growth. 

Now take a look at our company, SDN Communications. When I started here just less than a year ago, the company had about 140 employees.  Now there are more than 160 employees with another 15 job postings listed.  I can tell you, with numerous technical degrees in the state, they get filled quickly.

So, take the lead from and keep an eye on Sioux Falls.  The conditions are ripe.  Let’s see what grows next.