Long regarded as the industrial powerhouse of the US, Missouri is now proving itself as a global centre of tech excellence
The state of Missouri has been building its technology credentials for decades. However, in recent years it has seen an acceleration of its tech industries, making it one of the most attractive locations for startups and growing organisations in North America. In fact, in March 2022, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) announced it was building its hyperscale data centre in Kansas City, investing at least $800m into the project.
Missouri is firmly committed to the growth of a wide range of ground-breaking sectors, from Fintech, to Agritech, PetTech, Geospatial, Healthtech and many more, they are all thriving across the state. With one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the USA, business-friendly regulatory systems, a robust talent pipeline and a network of support organisations state-wide, Missouri is showing that it is ready to support tech growth across the board.
New collaborations occur daily in Missouri’s innovation clusters between leading-edge companies and talented entrepreneurs. There is the Cortex Innovation Community – home to hundreds of startups and innovation giants – and T-REX, home to the Geosaurus, an industry first Geospatial Resource and Innovation Centre, and Moonshot Labs. Then there is the pioneering 39 North – the first Agritech focused innovation community in the world; and IDEA Commons, an urban innovation park driven by Missouri State University.
There is also the Innovation Stockyard – a one-stop business incubator specialising in animal sciences. These are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many other innovation centres throughout the state, proving that Missouri has the infrastructure in place that growing technology businesses need.
From the Mercury and Gemini missions to the Mars Missions and the International Space Station, Missouri has always led the way into space. Today, Missouri is home to numerous companies involved in the space programme. Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security facilities in Missouri are where space travel, from the earliest manned missions to today’s Starliner, were developed, and training for astronauts continues. EaglePicher powers the International Space Station and the Mars Missions. Impossible Sensing is deciphering and interpreting data gathered by Perseverance on Mars. And Masterclock keeps all these programmes running via precision timing devices.
As Pablo Sobron, CEO of Impossible Sensing, said: “Missouri was the perfect launchpad, pun intended, for Impossible Sensing.”
Across Missouri, companies are taking advantage of talent and innovation to drive industry-wide changes in health, data management and research innovation. Several world-renowned research hospitals and innovation clusters are performing industry-changing research. Missouri’s bioscience industry employs about 56,000 highly-skilled individuals across nearly 5,000 companies. More than 40 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees or higher in biological or biomedical science. Missouri is home to the world’s first virtual care centre, with companies like Cerner, Centene and Express Scripts transforming healthcare as we know it. The UK’s GSK calls Missouri home. In fact, every single Tums consumed in the US is made by GSK in Missouri. Pfizer developed their Covid-19 vaccine in the state.
Missouri is home to one of the largest financial services hubs outside of New York and is a global leader in the reinsurance industry. In fact, Missouri is home to more than 9% of the US reinsurance industry – companies with a presence in the state account for 33% of the industry revenues. Square was created in Missouri and is home to its largest and fastest growing location. Three of the top 10 largest US finance firms are based in Missouri, and it is ranked 3rd for Women in the Tech Workforce and 9th for expected future tech growth.
Mastercard’s global operations centre is in Missouri, making Missouri the largest concentration of Mastercard employees in the world.
Agritech and PetTech
Missouri is the global leader in Agritech. Agritech research takes place across the entire state through innovation clusters, fast-growing companies, and leading world-class educational institutions. The state is home to the “Ag Coast of America” and in Missouri, agriculture is a $94bn industry with many leading Agritech organisations calling the state home. Bayer’s Global Seeds and Traits HQ is in Missouri. Scollar, a leading PetTech company recently moved their HQ from Silicon Valley to Kansas City, Missouri. The state is home to the Animal Health Corridor, with more than 300 animal health companies and representing 56% of the global animal health industry.
Other leading innovators include the Danforth Plant Science Center, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Yield Lab, Corteva Agriscience, BASF, Bunge, KWS, Zoetis, AgriLabs, Boehringer Ingelheim, and the headquarters of Rabo Agrifinance.
Big data, smart farming, input optimisation, precision ag, biologicals, breeding, green chemistry, green pharmaceuticals, intellectual capital, an extensive Agritech infrastructure, investors and more is all growing in the heart of the US.
Cyber and Geospatial
Geospatial analysis and cybersecurity are emerging sectors in Missouri, with solid foundations due to the presence of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and their thousands of employees. The NGA is currently investing $1.75bn in the St. Louis region as they build their new West HQ. Geosaurus, Moonshot Labs, Climate Corporation, and many other related companies and organisations call Missouri home. “Everybody is excited about the NGA relocation, and everybody is pulling together,” says T-REX Executive Director Patty Hagan. “It’s about making St. Louis the global centre for excellence in geospatial and location intelligence.”
The GEOINT Symposium, which gathers the top talent in geospatial analysis from around the world, takes place every two years in Missouri and in May 2022, UK Geospatial company Wyld Networks announced their US HQ will be in Missouri.
Missouri is home to six million people and there is certainly more innovation, more opportunity, more talent and more business success. The state has support systems that work directly with tech companies at the state, regional and local levels. With solid support in place, as well as a tech workforce full of the brightest talent, Missouri is quickly becoming the tech hub of the Midwest.