$900K Infusion Set to Grow Tech Community

$900K Infusion Set to Grow Tech Community

Powderkeg, a digital community for tech companies, investors, and professionals, announced its first capital raise. Led by Elevate Ventures with participation from Stout Street Capital and tech luminary Scott McCorkle, the round closed at $900,000.

Powderkeg’s digital community allows professionals and businesses to connect in new, unique ways, such as offering them the ability to discover qualified talent and job opportunities in a highly curated manner. Powderkeg will use the funds to increase value for its 10,000+ members by providing more access for professionals to connect with the fastest-growing tech companies, most innovative products, and most talented leaders in the middle of the country.

“What we really want to focus on now is creating more access to more resources for professionals and company leaders,” said Powderkeg CEO, Matt Hunckler. “Tech companies between the coasts face similar challenges as those in Silicon Valley and New York, but how we solve those problems is way different, which is why coastal products haven’t solved them.”

For instance, one of the biggest pain points in non-coastal tech hubs is that tech professionals are having a difficult time realizing their full career potential. This was the top issue raised in Powderkeg’s 2018 U.S. Tech Census, which surveyed more than 1,000 professionals in eight emerging tech hubs such as Indianapolis, Denver, and Nashville. Closely related, companies are having a difficult time attracting and retaining tech talent.

“There’s so much growth primed to happen in markets like the The Rockies and the Midwest,” said Clay Gordon, managing partner at Stout Street Capital in Denver. “Powderkeg’s network makes it easier for entrepreneurs in emerging tech hubs to get resources that have been out of reach. Once these emerging hubs hit critical mass, we’ll see explosive growth.”

“There’s an explosion of opportunity in tech between the coasts. The problem is that it’s difficult to know how to capitalize on all that opportunity. Which companies have the best cultures and coolest products? Who are the visionaries to follow?” Hunckler said.

By making it easier for top talent and top companies to find each other, Powderkeg sees immense potential for tech hubs between the coasts to grow and scale much faster. After all, tech companies pay some of the highest salaries and offer some of the most sought after benefits (flex time, remote work policies, equity, and ownership plans). “People don’t want just a job. They want something that excites them daily,” Hunckler said.

Powderkeg has plenty of other plans on the horizon, too, such as:

  • Designing a talent-matching platform to connect professionals with tech companies.
  • Launching an expanded round of the U.S. Tech Census, starting with Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Creating an email digest of curated tech news specifically focused on companies located between the coasts.

“We want to use our expanding data and reach to drive more human interaction and more rewarding professional relationships,” Hunckler said. “That vision has investors excited, particularly those who recognize that non-coastal tech hubs have traditionally been disadvantaged due to resource scarcity and disconnected tech ecosystems.”

“Powderkeg is changing the face of tech entrepreneurship outside of the Valley,” said Scott McCorkle. “By creating a community of like-minded founders and investors to share ideas and struggles, Powderkeg has removed some long-standing barriers to building a tech business in a non-coastal area.”

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