Last week, Logi Analytics had the honor of hosting Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones for a conversation about technology innovation and growth in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Over the past five years, Logi Analytics has grown quickly, expanding its employee base to more than 200 employees, the majority of whom are located in Virginia. It was great to show Secretary Jones a true Virginia success story.
Hearing about the growth and success Logi Analytics had in the area, Secretary Jones posed a thoughtful question: How can the Commonwealth attract more entrepreneurs and businesses?
Now, this is a great question; one that I have actually thought about quite a bit as a former venture capitalist. And what it really boils down to is density — in other words, having a large number of people and assets in one place to stimulate growth and share insights. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
This theme of density continued throughout the day, as Secretary Jones and I traveled to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to join a panel at the Virginia Ventures Forum to further discuss how to foster innovation in Virginia with state universities and venture capitalists.
During the panel, Secretary Jones emphasized that Governor McAuliffe is dedicated to making Virginia a place to start and grow companies. And, according to Dayna Grayson, partner at New Enterprise Associates, the Northern Virginia area is actually the perfect place to make something like this happen. She noted that the D.C. area attracts similar types of people —driven, well-educated and willing to think outside the box — who can be leveraged as assets when looking for innovation.
However, a region simply cannot create sustainable growth without creating the necessary kind of interactions that lead to growth. There needs to be a network of resources — universities, venture capitalists, subject matter experts, etc. — that can come together in one place and collaborate.
This was echoed in the audience questions. University professors and researchers who recognize there are people out there who can help them, but do not have a singular location to do so in the Commonwealth and wanted to know where to turn.
So here is my suggestion to everyone with an interest in seeing this region thrive: Let’s create a Center of Innovation in Northern Virginia where all of the smartest people can come together and discuss ideas, ask questions, build a network and find the necessary resources to take their ideas and turn them into thriving Virginia companies.
At the end of the day, the secret sauce of creating a thriving ecosystem of innovation is density – and the sooner we can get the right people and resources in one place, the sooner we will see greater technology innovation and growth in the Commonwealth.