This article was originally published on TechCrunch
Adrian Fortino leads Mercury Fund’s Midwest office in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Based on his years of experience as a both entrepreneur and investor, Adrian shares his analysis of one of the factors that Mercury believes is holding back startup communities in the middle of the country.
There is an unnamed epidemic slowly traveling through the middle of the U.S. This epidemic goes by many names, but our venture fund refers to it as “early exit disease.” This disease spreads when founders realize sub-$20 million exits. Many of these exits could have grown much larger. Instead, early exits have been quietly devastating the Midwest region’s startup maturation, cutting off the very process that first created Silicon Valley — and which could create more tech capitals in the middle of the country.
There will never be a true Silicon Valley clone in the Midwest, given the critical mass of tech companies and entrepreneurs on the West Coast. But we should have the ability and opportunity to build viable and credible ecosystems.