When people think about tech economies, Minnesota isn’t getting the recognition it deserves. Sure, the state has some major corporations—Target, United Health Group, Best Buy — many of which are investing in the startup scene, but it hasn’t yet translated into a reputation drawing newcomers or startups like you see in Seattle or Austin. This is why an IPO like Jamf, which listed on Nasdaq this week, is so interesting and impactful.
The company, which develops software that helps enterprises manage Apple products, raised $468 million out the gate with this week’s offering. While often quiet about its success outside the boundaries of the state, CNBC, TechCrunch, ComputerWeekly, among others picked up the news. Truly a shining moment for Jamf.
But beyond the coverage, and really beyond Jamf, an IPO gets the ball rolling for the regional tech ecosystem and expands out to the entire local economy. In general, labor markets, business environments, consumer spending all see a decent boost following an IPO.
What’s different in this case, however, is that Jamf isn’t another IPO. One of many. While quietly building up its tech credentials, Minnesota and the wider Upper Midwest region doesn’t generally see many IPOs. In 2018, for instance, three companies were newly listed, but only one was large enough to place it on a list of the top 50 companies in the state.
That’s why Jamf’s IPO is so important. It signals to tech workers, investors, and partners that you can grow a big, independent and successful company here, from scratch. Minnesota has specialized in ag, medical and enterprise SaaS tech for a while now. Groups like Medical Alley, who are advancing the regions reputation in the healthcare industry, are making a real impact in creating connections across the globe. Home grown venture capital firms are starting to expand, with new entrants like Bread & Butter bring more resources to founders. At last count, Minnesota has more than 136,000 tech jobs, and experienced a direct economic impact of nearly $31.1 billion.
An IPO is a moment for an often silent region to flaunt its success. So when people wonder why they should relocate or look for investment opportunities there, they see proof that success – great success – is possible. That there’s an ecosystem ready to support them. Yes, Jamf had a moment, and it’s a moment we should all use to make a little more noise.
"The reason we wanted to go public all along was we wanted to be able to commit to our customers for the long term that were here to innovate for them, and there was no better way to do that than to go public,” Hager said.