November 14, 2022                          

From Silicon Dragon to

Silicon Heartland: The Journey

How does the Midwest's developing tech economy compare to China's build-up of a

Silicon Dragon more than a decade ago?

The pace is slower in the Midwest. The VC funding is slimmer.

But there are similarities. Clusters of innovation are springing up in Midwestern hubs, similar to zones that developed in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Government is working to accelerate startup growth and fund VC investments in both markets.

Many of the same tech sectors are advancing: AI, robotics, advanced manufacturing, mobility and software.

Likewise, hubs in both China and the Midwest have their own technology specialty.

But the Midwest has to rebuild from past industrial glory. It is not starting from scratch. If this recovery continues, the Midwest could counter China's tech rise, with more investment and emerging companies. A revival of the industrial Heartland could also rebalance growth from the coasts to the inland cities, and help to close the divide between rich and poor, urban and rural.

The "Flyover Country" stereotype could fade.

Seeds already have been planted for mini Silicon Valleys in Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and other up and comers.

But the region still needs more success stories and entrepreneurial heroes to fully recover, boost the economy, and beat back lingering poverty and despair from the loss of jobs to overseas locations, mainly China.

The Intel semiconductor plant in Ohio that's in the works is one positive step forward.

This past week in San Francisco, guests at an initial preview event got a behind-the-scenes peak of my exploratory road trips through

former Rust Belt lands, which led to my new book, Silicon Heartland.

Pre-order the book here.

If you missed us in San Francisco, join us for our

December 8 reception and book preview in NYC

(for Silicon Dragon Circle members)

Next stop, New York City

Thanks to Nixon Peabody's David Kaufman for hosting us. Guests received a limited edition preview of my new book, Silicon Heartland.

Silicon Heartland Visits Tulsa

Black Wall Street is coming back - just one aspect of how Tulsa is angling into tech innovation to drive the economy forward from oil and gas and attract new talent to the city. Michael Basch of Atento Capital was a guest on my AskAVC show, live from Tulsa, Nov. 3. .

Silicon Heartland Special Series

AskAVC show Video Replays

Rev1 Ventures in Columbus

October 26

Comeback Capital in Cleveland

October 12

MVP in Pittsburgh 

October 5

High Alpha in Indianapolis

September 20

Next Ask A VC 


Heartland Series

November 16


Mike Green

Mountain State 


Morgantown, WVa.

December 14


Pete Blackshaw





Silicon Dragon

at CES 2023

January 5,




Renew Your

Silicon Dragon

Circle Membership


and join us


Dec. 8, 4-6pm


New York City

Silicon Heartland cover

First review packs a punch! 

Publishers Weekly

Buy Silicon Heartland

"Journalist Rebecca A. Fannin delivers a spirited account of her road trip through the Midwest to survey the region’s tech-driven revitalization. The Rust Belt, she contends, 'is making a comeback' in the form of a burgeoning tech industry that has benefited from a recent increase in remote workers who have moved inland from coastal cities, bringing experience and funding with them. 

As an Ohio native, Fannin’s deep empathy for Midwesterners is palpable, and Fannin’s frank look at the Rust Belt’s resilience inspires while being realistic about the work ahead. This short but meaty travelogue packs a punch." 


Columbus, Ohio

October 19, 2022

Fireside Chat with VC Phil Hagerman

of Comeback Capital


 Join the Circle

Founder/Author/CNBC contributor

Rebecca A. Fannin

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