Since the day we were founded in Cambridge, MA, a little more than six years ago, Xconomy has held an annual reception in every city where we have established an outpost to provide business news coverage of the people and ideas that give rise to innovation. It’s our way of thanking the local tech leaders who have helped us build this online media startup into an authoritative and respected source of information about the exponential part of the economy.
It was a milestone moment, though, when close to 160 people turned out to mark the fifth anniversary of Xconomy San Diego. Making it to five years is a watershed for any startup, and Bob Buderi, our founder, CEO, and editor in chief, often notes that we launched Xconomy into the teeth of the worst recession in 50 years. As journalists in this new age of Internet media, we’ve actually experienced what it means to be a “lean entrepreneur.”
I could not have made it to five years in San Diego without the encouragement and support of many local innovation leaders, beginning with Duane Roth, the Connect CEO and San Diego Xconomist who died in early August.
Among the many other Xconomists who have supported our enterprise—and our effort to create the discourse and environment that’s helping push the innovation economy forward in San Diego and elsewhere, I want to recognize Larry Smarr of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and Kevin Kinsella of Avalon Ventures for their willingness to serve as “rally points” for highlighting emerging technologies and new issues of importance.
At the beginning of this year, Xconomy was providing coverage in six U.S. cities that are renowned as hubs for technology innovation. Beginning even earlier than that, two leading innovators in Boulder, CO, David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars, and Brad Feld, a co-founder of the Foundry Group, had approached Xconomy to ask what it would take for us to establish a beachhead in Colorado. TechStars and the Foundry Group have helped to start hundreds of software ventures in Colorado and elsewhere, and the partners there believed that startups in Colorado deserved the kind of national presence that Xconomy would bring in its coverage of the tech corridor between Boulder and Denver.
This dichotomy is one of the most unusual aspects of what we’re doing. I am writing about innovation across the spectrum in San Diego—information tech, life sciences, cleantech, and other sectors. It’s local coverage. Yet every story I write also goes to Xconomy’s national website, and is included in the news that goes to our subscribers nationwide. So we’re both a familiar local presence and an authoritative national presence.
Out of our discussions with Cohen and Feld, the pair helped us launch a crowd-funding campaign to bring Xconomy to Colorado.
That effort was successful, and we launched Xconomy Boulder-Denver earlier this spring. Xconomy Texas debuted not long after that, joining our established network that covers the innovation clusters in San Diego, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York.
And then something really interesting happened.
Following the opening of Xconomy Boulder-Denver and Xconomy Texas,innovation leaders in some other regions of the country with technology clusters reached out to ask What would it take to get Xconomy to establish coverage of our technology cluster?
So now Xconomy has some new opportunities to consider…
There is something else worth thinking about here: While Silicon Valley is renowned as the epicenter of technology innovation, it is far from the only place where innovation happens. And as Xconomy expands into new regions where innovation clusters are taking root, we are helping foster the discourse and environment that’s pushing the innovation economy forward in those areas too. At the same time, we are providing the news and information that ties all these regions together into a greater whole—a nationwide network focused on innovation—and there’s a word for that. It’s called synergy.