Missouri‘s Rising Technology Stars: An Insider‘s Guide

As an innovation-focused business leader or tech investor, have you considered Missouri‘s potential as a major technology epicenter that could rival coastal hubs? If not, it may be time to take notice of the major movements within the Show-Me State.

In this deep 3,500+ word guide, you‘ll discover:

  • The under-the-radar homegrown Missouri tech giants making global waves
  • How out-of-state tech titans are quietly building major Missouri outposts
  • The privately-held tech firms scaling towards stature through Missouri operations
  • Publicly traded Missouri tech stocks benefiting from emerging trends
  • Why economists and entrepreneurs tout Missouri as America‘s next great tech hub

Let‘s explore the fascinating landscape of leading technology innovators choosing to anchor aspects of their operations in America‘s heartland…

Section 1: Missouri‘s Own Tech Giants Raising the Bar

Missouri has nurtured a surprising cadre of massively successful technology companies from scratch within its borders. These organizations demonstrate that global ambition and industry leadership need not solely happen among coastal tech hubs. Meet the Missouri tech giants leading world-class operations centered within the state:

World Wide Technology – Scaling IT Infrastructure Mastery

HeadquartersMaryland Heights, MO
FoundersDavid Steward, Jim Kavanaugh
Year Founded1990
Annual Revenue$14.15 billion
EmployeesOver 7,000
Key TechnologiesMulti-cloud, security, analytics, automation

Arising from humble small business roots, World Wide Technology (WWT) now sets the pace for designing and deploying enterprise IT infrastructure. WWT forged deep competencies around cloud migration, security, data center consolidation, automation, and connectivity. Their 7,000+ employees architect infrastructure for critical systems across over 1,000 private and public sector clients globally.

Steward and Kavanaugh started WWT in 1990 as a reseller of Cisco and HP gear. They took risks expanding internationally and adding capabilities around emerging technologies. The bets paid off, as WWT grew into a $14 billion innovator guiding organizations on managing complexity as IT underpins every facet of business.

What‘s next for this Missouri tech juggernaut? WWT seems positioned to accelerate growth by capitalizing on trends like Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and edge computing. Their appetite to push boundaries knows no limits.

Swappa – Fueling the Recommerce Wave

HeadquartersKansas City, MO
Founder & CEOBen Edwards
Year Founded2010
Annual RevenueEst. $10-20 million
Key TechnologiesMobile app, testing automation, fraud prevention

Seen a spike in friends selling their used phones and tablets? Meet Swappa, the Kansas City upstart fueling the red hot recommerce industry. Their slick online marketplace matches buyers and sellers trading gently used devices from Apple, Samsung, Google and more.

Rather than anonymous, risky peer-to-peer exchanges, Swappa thoroughly vets and erases personal data from every device before shipping to a new owner. This peace of mind helped Swappa become a top choice among the recommerce sites popping up.

Started in 2010 by consumer electronics fanatic Ben Edwards, Swappa reached profitability by 2015 without outside funding. They have since expanded into wearables, laptops, gaming systems, and drones. Swappa sets the standard for extracting maximum value from aging electronics.

Cerner – Transforming Global Healthcare from Missouri

Acquired byOracle for $28.3 billion
Former HeadquartersNorth Kansas City, MO
FoundersNeal Patterson, Paul Gorup, Cliff Illig
Year Founded1979
Pre-Acquisition Revenue$5.6 billion (2021)
Key TechnologiesElectronic health records, health data, clinical workflows

In 2022, enterprise technology titan Oracle saw so much potential in Missouri-bred Cerner that they acquired the electronic medical records giant for $28.3 billion. Cerner laid the foundation optimizing global healthcare around digitized patient data.

Launched in 1979, Cerner built an early lead in healthcare information technology solutions and never relinquished it. Their platforms manage everything from patient scheduling to billing systems to wearables monitoring individual vitals. Top hospitals and health systems worldwide depend on Cerner.

While Oracle now oversees Cerner, they chose North Kansas City as the anchor for one of three major global Oracle hubs. Former Cerner executives even assumed elevated Oracle leadership roles post-acquisition, solidifying Midwest healthcare IT leadership for decades to come.

And that‘s just a preview of Missouri‘s homegrown tech forces!

Other savvy Show-Me State startups like construction equipment IoT developer EquipmentShare and banking infrastructure provider Jack Henry & Associates similarly reached billion-dollar valuations by starting in Missouri combined with determination.

Let‘s now investigate how some of the world‘s most influential technology corporations chose to strategically build up Missouri.

Section 2: Global Tech Titans Placing Major Bets on Missouri

More impressively than pure invention, Missouri attracts and retains outside technology firms scoping the region‘s central location, strong universities, distribution infrastructure, cultural communities, and business incentives as the perfect cocktail for sustainable success when transplanting operations.

Global innovators like Amdocs, Perficient, and Belden each direct hundreds of millions in annual investment into Missouri to tap local talent and benefit from cost structures difficult for either coast to match.

Amdocs – Rural Roots Supporting Global Media Infrastructure

Global HeadquartersChesterfield, MO
President & CEOJosh Sheffer
Year Founded1982; US HQ since 1991
Annual Revenue$4.29 billion (2021)
Employees25,000 globally
Key TechnologiesCloud platforms, 5G networks, over-the-top media, digital transformation

When ranking the world‘s most influential company most people overlook, Amdocs fits the bill. This Missouri-run technology & services powerhouse enables delivery of movies, tv, news, games, music, and mobile services to billions worldwide.

Founded in Israel in 1982 publishing telephone directories, Amdocs acquired Missouri-based telecom billing consultant Excel in 1991 as their American foothold. Additional purchases grew Amdocs‘ Midwest presence into the nerve center directing field techs globally implementing next-gen entertainment networks.

Juggling media infrastructure crossing continents depends on tight orchestration. Amdocs developed its complex project management expertise by embracing Missouri ruggedness in its workforce blended with coastal polish. Josh Sheffer helms Amdocs after succeeding in numerous Missouri-based roles since 1995.

Fun Fact: In 2010, Amdocs relocated their original Chesterfield headquarters to Israel…only to return in 2017 citing difficulty matching Midwestern skill.

Perficient – Catalyzing Digital Transformations from Midwest Roots

HeadquartersSt. Louis, MO
CEOJeffrey Davis
Year Founded1997
2021 Revenues$768 million
EmployeesOver 3,500
Key TechnologiesCloud migration, enterprise software, custom development

When prominent enterprises like Toyota, Express Scripts, and Major League Baseball required digital transformation expertise able to balance bold vision with pragmatic execution, they called Perficient. This St. Louis-based consultancy brings clients future-ready through technology fluency.

Initially a systems integrator founded in St. Louis in 1997, Perficient grew into a publicly traded firm guiding Fortune 500 players into rethinking customer experiences and internal systems for the cloud era. Their 3,500 digital specialists introduced emerging capabilities around artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and big data to market leaders once dismissed as conservative Midwestern stalwarts.

Under longtime CEO and St. Louis native Jeffrey Davis, Perficient embodies the potential for Missouri technology firms to attract marquee coastal clients by overdelivering on imagination and excellence. Revenues soared from $13 million in 2004 to $768 million projected in 2023 as industry demand for Perficient‘s services scales exponentially.

Fun Fact: Perficient rang the NASDAQ opening bell in 2019 while celebrating their fifth appearance on the Fortune 100 Fastest Growing Companies list.

Belden – Anchoring Next-Gen Infrastructure from Heartland Roots

HeadquartersSt. Louis, MO
CEORoel Vestjens
Year Founded1902
Annual Revenue$2.4 billion
Key TechnologiesSignal transmission, enterprise networking, IIoT, cybersecurity

Technology constantly evolves, but for over a century Belden Inc. reliably helped infrastructure carry breakthroughs enabling historic capabilities in communications, entertainment, manufacturing, transportation and beyond.

Today from St. Louis, Belden supplies high-speed networking equipment, cybersecurity software, wireless access points, fiber optic cabling, connected sensors, and more to industrial environments and mission-critical enterprises worldwide.

The company forever found ways applying emerging science into solutions supporting customer needs…starting from Joseph Belden teaching Chicago factories to use his wire goods in 1902, through radio-electronics in the 1920s, aerospace wiring in the 1960s, broadband in the 1990s, and now cloud-enabledfactories with the IIoT wave.

Staying power depends on melding innovation with consistency. For Belden, a foundation in Missouri provided the bedrock to build upon as technology cycles dictated.

The Bottom Line: Technology giants with options place big bets on Missouri for its unconventional yet potent recipe across incentives, existing expertise, and educated workers that coastal tech hubs struggle matching. Locals call it the "Show Me" spirit infusing tenacity with smarts.

Section 3: Missouri‘s Rising Private Tech Stars

While most coverage fixates on publicly traded tech giants, some of Missouri‘s most compelling innovation happens privately as disciplined entrepreneurs build influential enterprises without fanfare. Meet the Show-Me State tech upstarts gaining rapid traction while retaining independence:

World Wide Technology – Private Powerhouse Scaling to New Heights

We introduced World Wide Technology earlier as Missouri‘s largest homegrown tech success. While public shareholders fuel many tech titans, WWT chose staying private to maintain strategic flexibility.

CEO Jim Kavanaugh partnered with founder David Steward to aggressively reinvest profits into emerging capabilities and savvy acquisitions. This led WWT from $100 million to $14 billion in revenue within 25 years. Would Wall Street patience tolerate similar risk-taking?

Maintaining privacy also helped WWT incentivize top talent who appreciate avoiding quarterly scrutiny as they transform complex client infrastructure. WWT provides the ultimate case proving global industry leadership surfaces from Missouri without fanfare or public capital.

Lynxspring – Bootstrapping Building Automation Innovation

In a niche like intelligent building infrastructure, industry pioneers often flow from startups. Lynxspring incubates category-defining technology in Lee‘s Summit, Missouri.

Lynxspring builds hardware, software, and managed services that allow monitoring and control of lighting, climate, security, and other facility systems from centralized interfaces and mobile apps – they connect buildings to the cloud.

While only ~40 employees currently, Lynxspring reaches profitability on their own merits rather than through outside funding. Theircapital efficiency fuels product innovation rivaling West Coast counterparts. Lynxspring seems poised for expansion once smart infrastructure adoption hits mainstream.

The Bottom Line: While California startups chase hype and VC funding, Missouri technologists bootstrap breakout companies through demonstrated customer value. These understated innovators power global systems.

Section 4: Publicly Traded Missouri Tech Stocks

While most of Missouri‘s tech giants stay private, investors can gain exposure to the state‘s emerging leadership through these public companies building market share from their Missouri headquarters:

Cass Information Systems (CASS) – Modernizing B2B Payments

Founded 1906 publishing phone books, Cass transformed over 40 years into a B2B fintech specialist handling invoice payments, analytics, and accounting system integration for complex supply chains.

From Missouri, Cass processes $60 billion (!) in annual B2B transactions from clients like Verizon, Honda, and John Deere. Think of them as the Nike shoe factory to other companies scoring touchdowns.

Cass gets overlooked lacking consumer brand prestige. But investors value their Oregon Trail-like reliability, dividend growth exceeding 30 years, and vital role interconnecting modern conglomerates.

Jack Henry & Associates (JKHY) – Keeping Community Banks Competitive

Large banks consolidate leaving small towns longing for dependable lenders. Jack Henry builds the technology infrastructure keeping over 9,000 community banks and credit unions thriving into the digital age with security, speed, and personal service.

Jack Henry provides everything from digital apps and predictive analytics to statement printing and loan origination solutions so local institutions focus on customers rather than chasing technology expertise. Strong competitive moats lift JKHY to 40 PE and near billion dollar annual revenue.

The Bottom line: Public market investors access specialized infrastructure firms powering essential payment and banking activity nationwide from these two Missouri-based stocks.

Conclusion: All Signs Point Towards a Budding Midwest Technology Epicenter

Reviewing Missouri‘s density of tech giants, rising stars, and public companies enjoying success from Midwest headquarters leads observers increasingly concluding:

This state‘s savvy technology leadership proves greatly underestimated.

Missouri evolved positioning beyond what coastal tech elites dismiss as "flyover country" towards a destination where digital transformation and globally consequential innovation takes root through homegrown ingenuity and imported intellect collaborating.

The nuts and bolts of a technology juggernaut – specialized skills, academic feeders, density, reinvestment, and cultural identity – incrementally bolster across Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, and Columbia.

So pay attention to Missouri‘s technology momentum. The Show-Me State shows no signs of slowing its production of the next wave of tech titans!

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