By Terry Daffin
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Sacramento Business Journal’s TechEdge event, held at the McClellan Event Center.
The event was well-attended by about 200 techies, startups, investor groups, incubator groups, and other individuals and groups interested in how to plug into the innovation explosion in the Sacramento region.
As I walked through the technology fair that was set up for vendors to display their offerings and shared what KAI Partners is embarking on in the way of a coworking/Incubator space in downtown Sacramento, I was taken aback by the openness and collaborative atmosphere of this group.
Many of the vendors and attendees I talked with were excited about more growth and even introduced me to others who they thought could help on our journey. I met and spoke to two founders of incubator/accelerator programs already here in Sacramento and they shared with me what they are doing, how they got started, and what they were planning to do in the future. The atmosphere was not one of competition, but one of growth for our region.
At the event, there was a program in which several speakers discussed what the future looks like for bringing innovators, startups, and investors to Sacramento.
Congresswoman Doris Matsui kicked off the event by speaking about how “Sacramento is on the move” and “the place to be” for innovation. She talked about how state and local government are embracing the innovation surge by changing policies to make it easier for businesses to start and thrive in the Sacramento region.
Rep. Matsui spoke about an initiative the City of Sacramento has regarding autonomous vehicles and noted that Sacramento will be a “test bed” for such innovation. She even talked about collaboration efforts with DMV to establish standards and mentioned the recent partnership with AT&T and how Sacramento will be building out infrastructure to support the new 5G technology to achieve net neutrality in our region.
Lokesh Sikaria of Moneta Ventures spoke about the exciting future growth in Sacramento. Of the eight largest trends in the tech industry, Sacramento will see explosive growth and opportunities in four:
- AI and machine learning
- Big data
- Autonomous vehicles
- Health 2.0
Mr. Sikaria asked, “Why Sac? Why Now?” and cited the following:
- 200k + shared workforce
- 20% of applicants of jobs are from the Bay Area
- 300k + college students in the region
- 50% lower cost of living than the Bay Area
- Each tech job creates 5x the growth
In addition to the great speakers, there was a panel of startup business founders discussing how and why they came to the Sacramento region. The stories about their migration to the Sacramento region were unique, but had common themes such as the lower cost of doing business, the large number of experienced tech people, and the quality of life. They all said that before coming to Sacramento to explore doing business here, their perception of Sacramento was negative and that it was only after they came here and saw the growth and the transformation and the quality of Sacramento that they decided to make the move.
Overall, it was a very positive event with lots of excitement by everyone who attended. I think these are exciting times for our region!
About the Author: Terry Daffin is an Executive Consultant within KAI Partners. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 30 years and has over 25 years of project management experience. As a public sector consultant in the health care industry, Mr. Daffin has assisted in the development and implementation of Project Management Offices that include project management, service management, lean agile and traditional product development lifecycles, and governance processes. He has been an innovation advocate and evangelist for 15 years and has implemented innovative processes for projects that he has been engaged on since 2001. He has worked with the California Medi-Cal Management and Information System (CA-MMIS) division of the Department of Health Care Services, California Franchise Tax Board, Commission on Teacher Credentialing, California Department of Consumer Affairs, California Board of Equalization, and California Department of Water Resources. Mr. Daffin is currently working on a project for KAI Partners to expand an existing coworking organization into an innovation incubator/accelerator focused on connecting innovative start-ups and the public sector.