Des Moines is among the top mid-sized to large metro areas in the nation for the number information technology startups and high-tech startups per capita, according to a report released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation this week. 

 

One local startup leader, though, says there may be a downtrend in 2013.

 

The Kauffman study compared the years 1990 and 2010, and Des Moines was in the top 10 of growth for both information technology and high tech startups. Midsized-to-large metro areas were considered those with populations between 500,000 and 1 million.

 

The study notes that Des Moines and Omaha have gained national recognition in recent years as "hotspots for entrepreneurship" in technology, and refers to the area as the Silicon Prairie.

 

Tej Dhawan, principal of StartupCity Des Moines, notes that he has anecdotally heard of less startup activity in 2013. That's to be expected, though, when the economy improves.

 

"My guess is that's because as the economy has improved, the technology workers are increasingly looking at jobs rather than starting companies," he said. "It's not a worrisome trend. It's a known trend that a declining economy increases entrepreneurship, and an improving economy decreases entrepreneurship.

 

Dhawan credits the Kauffman numbers in part to economic downturns in 1991, 2000 with the dot-com bubble bust, and 2008. He said there was an uptick from 2008 to mid-2012 before the tech job market completely recovered in Des Moines.

 

"I think the uptick is still a positive uptick," he said. "It's just that if you look at the micro time window of the last year, it looks like it's a downturn. But for the Des Moines economy, from 1990 to now, technology entrepreneurship is on an upswing."