Great Win for Lincoln: Silicon Valley to Silicon Prairie
Lincoln received some great news last month with the announcement of Ink Labs’ decision to relocate its corporate headquarters from the Silicon Valley to the Silicon Prairie.
Ink CEO Jonathan Manzi made the announcement at a joint press conference with Governor Pete Ricketts, Ink Co-founder Denis Benic, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln CIO Mark Askren and me.
Manzi said, “Lincoln, Nebraska affords Ink with the ability to attract smart, young, loyal talent at scale and offer them a superlative proposition for quality of life.”
Manzi is hitting on what the Lincoln business community has known for a long time; Lincoln IS a great place to start and grow a business. We’ve got the world-class talent and business climate to foster the kind of ecosystem that supports startups. Startups bring new ideas and innovations to life and Lincoln, Nebraska is just the place to help launch and sustain them. Our success builds on their success and helps to position Lincoln for future growth.
Ink’s signature product, the Ink Smart Station, is more than a printer. It helps college students streamline everyday processes to make their student life better. It creates a connected experience for students and empowers campus decision-makers to make a better environment. Since piloting the Ink Smart Station at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in August 2016, Ink has expanded to 28 Stations across its UNL campuses. Ink has also added 12 institutions to its client list.
Ink also announced the closing of $6.65 million in seed round funding. With this funding, Ink plans to expand operations and launch several new higher education partnerships by the fall of 2017. Nebraska is one of the fastest growing states when it comes to high-growth startup funding, making it a natural fit for Ink, a fast-growing company. Invest Nebraska provided $1.75 million and was the final investor that helped Ink to reach its seed funding goal.
Also participating in the seed round were Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh’s VTF Capital, Base Ventures, G-Bar Ventures, Sipadan Capital, Nelnet, IT-Farm, Speedway and the Nebraska Angels. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development and the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development were critical in getting the right people around the table to convince Ink to relocate and to help attract local seed money.
We’re deeply committed to growing Lincoln’s economy by attracting and assisting unique companies and innovative startups with breakthrough ideas. We believe the Ink team has significant potential to contribute and effectively implement big ideas that have a positive impact for Lincoln and the rest of the state.
The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development know the entire business community supports a growth strategy. There’s room in Lincoln for growing our 100-year-old businesses just like our startups. The key is being open to new ideas and innovation. We want to be your partner in helping to make that happen.
The Chamber’s mission is to improve the lives of Lincoln residents by providing increased economic opportunity and can only be accomplished together. For more information on the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, (www.lcoc.com) please contact Jaime Henning at firstname.lastname@example.org.