Since returning to Kansas in 2017, Beth Ellyn and I have immersed ourselves in the tech and startup ecosystems of Kansas and Kansas City. In the last year, we’ve organized data on tech employers in the region, including startups. Today, as Free State Forge, we are publishing some stats and maps that should help show how much opportunity there is throughout the region.
It turns out that there are many more tech employers than most people realize. In the Kansas/KC area, there are over 500 companies employing tech talent in quantity and over 300 of those could be considered “tech companies” where their main product is software, services, engineering, or engineered product.
Aviation is strong in Wichita (Spirit’s temporary setback aside) but Netapp and Koch employ over 250 developers and engineers each. In Kansas City, the well-known names are Cerner, Garmin, Burns & Mac, and Black & Veatch. Less well-known, Honeywell FMT employs over 3000 engineers keeping our country safe and the Kansas City Federal Reserve has over 600 software developers.
Additionally, we have a hotbed of technology startups with over 190 in the area. Employing anywhere from 1 to 125 engineers, developers, and/or data scientists, these young companies are doing cool things like sequencing the genome better/faster/cheaper than ever before or attacking the inefficiencies in a $200T marketplace (not a typo).
What’s missing is the awareness of all these options and, like all regions, a sufficiency of tech employees to grow these companies. By publishing this data, we hope to help new grads and potential transfers understand the vibrancy of our tech community and motivate them to put down roots here in the Midwest because their career path will always have good choices.
We’ve built a searchable map, a slide deck, and a website to help share this information. The data is better than anything else out there but is far from complete or accurate. We’d love help with our dataset so check out the map and see if your company is there and its data correct.
Research Professor at The University of Kansas