Burlington's burgeoning high-tech culture has put it on a start-up map. The website techie.com, which documents emerging technology trends, named the city one of the country's 10 most creative up-and-coming hubs in 2014.
The home city to Dealer.com — one of Burlington's most extraordinary success stories with its recent sale for nearly $1 billion — also scored 38th on Lumosity's recent "100 smartest cities" report.
To make their final selections, techie.com editors assessed cities' infrastructure, including fiber optic rings, plus affordability of utilities, university connections, support from city government, civic pride and general "start-up culture."
Some cornerstones in that culture got a special mention in techie.com's write-up:
- the BTV Web App Group, which meets several times a month for presentations and networking
- Laboratory B, a local hackerspace
- Green Drinks, a sustainability-themed cocktail hour that splits its time between Burlington and Montpelier
- CodeForBTV, a weekly civic hacking group connected to Code For America
- Net Squared, which hosts regular meetups on various tech angles
- Vermont Tech Jam, an annual event with prominent business sponsors, organized by Seven Days and the Vermont Technology Alliance
Social media groups like the Front Porch Forum also helped Burlington earn its badge for civic participation. But the combination of online and "in real life" activity is part of what set the city apart.
"This sort of energy and community engagement is vital to innovation," the selection announcement reads. "This culture affords tinkerers a laboratory in which to learn and to practice, and ... builds valuable business connections."
Techie.com credited a growth in cloud-based technology combined with more accessible "means of production" with spawning start-up cultures like that in Burlington. Smaller cities with a great quality of life now collectively rival traditional business anchors such as Silicon Valley.
Other cities on Techie's radar in 2014 are: Atlanta, Ga.; Champaign/Urbana, Ill.; Detroit, Mich.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Huntsville, Ala.; Kansas City, Mo./Kan.; Orlando, Fla.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn.
UPDATE: This article was updated at 1:40 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2014.
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