A recent conference in Eugene, Oregon drove home an important point: the tech economy is much broader than that little slice we call Silicon Valley.
An international advocacy group for mobile app developers and the Silicon Shire, a Eugene tech networking group, worked together to host the conference on technology development.
Several hundred people attended, including Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Congressional Representative Peter DeFazio, as well as a bevy of local entrepreneurs. Morgan Reed, executive director of ACT/The App Association, was moderator the event.
“A big part of why the conference (was) held in Eugene is Mike Sax, a Eugene technology entrepreneur and founding member of ACT, the Association for Competitive Technology, a nonprofit group that helps policy-makers understand the impact of proposed legislation on small business innovators,” noted the Register-Guard.
“Through our founding member from Oregon, Mike Sax, we’ve been introduced to Eugene companies that are changing the way the world works, shops, and plays in a mobile environment,” said Morgan Reed. “That’s why we decided to check out the region for ourselves, to explore what entrepreneurs do best here, and learn how we can help this community prosper.”
The association’s interest was piqued by work coming out of Eugene companies lately, including Concentric Sky, which has developed apps for National Geographic and the United Nations, and SheerID, which recently developed a new way to verify a consumer’s eligibility for discounts for special groups.
“Eugene is having a profound impact on innovation beyond what people would expect from a community its size,” an App Association spokesperson said.
The mobile economy is a $120 billion economy worldwide, noted the association said, adding that the centers for app development in the United States include New York; San Francisco; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; and Boston. Only about 25 percent are based in the Silicon Valley.
The presence of a nearby university was cited as a boon to growing a tech-oriented sector in a community. For Eugene, Oregon, that would be just ducky.