Consumer Watch: Tech start-ups no longer need to head west


by Andy Treinen

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 15 at 6:21 PM

(WHAS11) -- Do you have a start-up idea? No need to move west. The new trend is making the most of wherever you are to create your own tech hub.

If the importance of technology to the economy needed a further boost, it got it during president Obama's state of the union address.

"A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything,” Donna Harris, 1776 co-founder, said.

The traditional thinking has been if you want to be the next Apple, Facebook, or Google you have to take your idea west. The new thinking, not necessarily so.

“You see the light bulb go on. That no longer do we have to say to ourselves, Silicon Valley is the only place I can go if I have a start-up dream,” Scott Case, Start-up America partnership CEO said.

That is one of the principles behind 1776, which will soon occupy a space in downtown Washington DC, one example of a tech hub far from Silicon Valley.

"We talk about being founded by founders and every city in America really has a core strength of really being built largely by entrepreneurs,” 1776 co-founder Evan Burfield said.

The goal, bringing young companies together in a campus of sorts, creating a community among them, and helping them find ways to maximize the city around them, rather than leave home base.

“Silicon Valley has some awesome assets that are really unique to that ecosystem. We have assets here in DC that are unique to our ecosystem and it's all about how do we build a start-up community that derives from those assets," Burfield said.

It's a concept budding entrepreneurs can apply in any city. Some assets in Louisville include shipping, bourbon, chicken, pizza and a top notch university and hospital network. The key for entrepreneurs is to tap into the resources to provide a service better than competitors that don’t have the same advantages.  If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to