A New Blueprint for Startup Incubators from Gig.U

August 8, 2011

1:27 pm

It’s no secret that startups tend to spring up in a handful of already-established tech communities here in the US.  Silicon Valley.  New York City.  Boston.  Austin.  Let’s throw DC and Chicago in for good measure.  That leaves most of the country out of the convergence of money, talent, and tech that is ultra-concentrated in these cities (yes, I am officially making Silicon Valley a city – you heard it here first).

The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, or Gig.U, should change that, especially if their pilot program at Case Western is any indication. The goal of this project is simple: install ultra high-speed networks in and around 29 leading research universities (Colorado State, Michigan State, University of Kentucky, Wake Forest to name 4).  They’re not kidding about the speed thing, either: we’re talking download-an-HD-movie-in-1-minute fast.

If you are familiar with Tech Cocktail at all, you know we champion startups around the country and regularly travel to host mixers that bring together startups, the local tech community, and investors.   For us, this is great news, as it basically democratizes opportunities for startups.  If you love living in the Mid-West, where most of the participating universities are located, no need to leave!  Establish your startup right where you are and support the community you know and love.

At Case Western, for instance, Gig.U set up the Case Connection Zone last year, which offered one-gigabit fiber-optic networking to 104 homes around the university. Within 3 months, 3 startups moved to the neighborhood.   If that’s not a high rate of success, I don’t know what is!

We’ll be following Gig.U to see what other programs they launch, but their initial success bodes very well for the future of tech in this country.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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