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3 Reasons DSM USA is a Tech Hub

Lightedge Tech DSM USA

June 13, 2019

As any good tech startup knows, scope creep can kill a business before it ever releases its first product. This can be tough, given that laser focus on the smaller aspects of a product is key to surviving the initial stages of a tech business. 

Another wise and guiding principal is the focus on customer experience. Greater Des Moines (DSM) seems to be hitting on both of these fronts as it strives to grow into a “No Coast” tech hub. Here are three key contributors to why this is happening:


DSM is fast approaching 700,000 residents. With many job seekers coming to the region for employment in technology, DSM is quickly being branded as the new Silicon Prairie. As a result, the large candidate pool gives businesses a diverse population to hire from. It also allows the area to support high quality arts, cultural lifestyles and entertainment options. Quality of life is a crucial element in attracting and growing a workforce.

Iowa has always been known as a place that produces well-educated and hard-working people. Now, DSM has found ways to keep that talent local. As our traditional agriculture and finance industries rapidly embrace digital transformation, the workplace and the city have transformed to entice this tech-savvy generation. 

Urban living options, short commutes, low crime-rates, affordable housing and diverse entertainment options all contribute to keeping and growing our population. These conditions also allow businesses to attract top leadership and talent to Des Moines. At work or play, it is now common to run into people from New York, D.C., Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle who have opted for a balanced life on the modern prairie. There is simply a fun mix of quality of life, economic opportunity and entertainment to be had in DSM these days.

DSM communities are continually ranking highest on lists for top places to live. In fact, Cedar Rapids and DSM were ranked #1 and #3 for most affordable housing in the country by WalletHub, and the Today Show ranked it in the top five best places to live in the U.S. With all of the success that DSM is experiencing, many who moved away are now returning to the region to experience the benefits.


The past 20 years have seen significant investment in DSM infrastructure to support growth in population and the businesses that support it. Des Moines International Airport has seen continued improvements and growth in flight options, yet it is still one of the easiest airport experiences in the country. 

Interstate arteries have expanded and given the city breathing room to grow in all directions while keeping commutes reasonable and discussions of traffic limited to the occasional extra 10-minute inconvenience. Spend a week driving in D.C., Chicago or LA for some perspective on how good DSM has it. 

Downtown DSM has completely transformed in the past 20 years. What was once a ghost-town after 5 p.m. and on weekends is now rife with activities such as festivals, markets and shows, as well as charming neighborhoods that come alive with their own personality. From shopping or enjoying drinks in the Historic East Village to dinner and a Broadway show near Historic Court District, there is something for everyone. Families will love taking the kids for a walk in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park after brunch during the weekend.

New projects to further develop both the Des Moines and Raccoon River areas are anchored by beautiful Principal Park, home of the Iowa Cubs, and Wells Fargo Arena (host to the last two NCAA regional tournament stops). In addition, construction is underway to connect Downtown with Grays Lake recreation area and the fabulous Waterworks Park with its outdoor concert venue. As for office space, DSM has a large array of options from converted historical spaces, modern high-rises and plenty of room to build whatever structure can be imagined.


The Internet has opened businesses up to global markets, with their only limitation being connecting their workforce to the Cloud and their customers. DSM’s location at the intersection of I-35 and I-80 gives it convenient access to strategic Fiber Optic networks that connect the nation both north-south and east-west.  

Being conveniently located near the middle of the country gives the region relatively equal performance to either coast when measuring the speed with which digital information travels. Businesses also benefit from robust competition for high-speed internet lines with over 10 fiber companies vying for their dollars in a relatively compact area.  

Dedicated fiber Gigabit access can be found for $600-$1500 per month and 10 Gigabit access can be found for $2k-$4k per month. Home users are not left out with several reasonable options for connectivity. With LightEdge being the very first to build their data center in DSM, the region has also quietly become home to cloud operations for MicrosoftFacebook and Apple. Several local data centers, cloud providers, development shops and tech incubators also support local businesses grow and innovate here. Read more about Data Centers in DSM.

As you can see, these three factors are fueling tech growth in DSM. Here you will find innovators — in ag-tech, fin-tech, genetics, bio-tech, advanced manufacturing and many more — quietly changing the world and enjoying a balanced and rewarding life. With the 2020 election season upon us, the eyes of the nation will soon be on Iowa, but DSM has found its stride and welcomes the country to take a new look at the state’s changing capital city.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country.The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 17 percent below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life.

Nate Olson-Daniel

Nate Olson-Daniel, VP and technical fellow at LightEdge, currently helps develop revenue streams by providing presales support. His areas of expertise are Cisco UCS, routing and switching, voice, data center, security, advocacy, cloud network and security and disaster recovery.