A big trend we are seeing in the venture capital world is that investors are actively seeking out new pockets of innovation in old economy industries.
For instance: The world needs only so many pizza delivery apps. And there’s an opportunity to apply the kind of innovation that has already overtaken whole markets, such as travel planning and taxi rides, and apply it to big and complex challenges.
Imagine revolutionizing farming and feeding the world. Or re-engineering our energy use to stop climate change in its tracks. This kind of industrial-strength disruption means getting out of the comfort zone of the typical innovation hubs in Silicon Valley and New York and into the rest of the country.
Mercury Fund's Aziz Gilani is passionate about the opportunity and potential for innovation in Middle America. His focus is the "mid-continent," a term that comes from the railroad era to delineate the region that extends from Texas to industry hubs in cities such as Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago.
The Kauffman Fellows interviewed Gilani about the opportunity in traditional industrial hubs at their recent VC Reunion Summit in Kansas City, Mo.