Innovation Delaware: Information Technology
Delaware’s IT sector is growing continuously as new companies emerge, supported by a commitment to training young people in the field.
Initiatives like Zip Code Wilmington, OpenBracket and training programs at Delaware Technical Community College are producing talent ready to enter an industry loaded with jobs and opportunities. Meanwhile, incubators such as 1313 Innovation and Delaware Technology Park are providing entrepreneurs with places to grow their businesses.
“We’re a tech state with a lot of talent,” says Mike Bowman, president of the Delaware Technology Park and a general partner at Leading Edge Ventures, a Newark-based venture capital firm specializing in tech companies. “We have a lot of history, and now we have big companies breaking into little pieces that have created a lot of new startups.”
At the same time, Delaware’s state government is focused on fostering technology growth. One of the centerpieces of that strategy is a drive to bring broadband access to even the most rural areas of Delaware, an initiative spearheaded by Delaware CIO James Collins. The work is starting to show results, as 98% of Delawareans now have access to broadband, according to national advocacy group Broadband Now. Broadband access is generally considered a crucial first step in fostering rural tech entrepreneurship.
Startups Bring Fresh Ideas
Some of Delaware’s startups have gone on to be national success stories. Take DeliveryCircle, a same-day delivery platform that launched at the New Castle County Emerging Enterprise Center in 2014 and today has a presence in 19 states. Last summer, DeliveryCircle raised an undisclosed Series A amount to support its continued growth.
Another exciting newcomer is NerdIT Now, which provides affordable repair services of computers, phones, tablets and consoles through both its storefront and a mobile repair truck. Founded by Wilmington native Markevis Gideon, NerdIT Now also gives back to the community through its own NerdIT Foundation, which
donates more than 100 computers a year to nonprofits and community centers.
Industries benefit from tech infusion
Leading Edge Ventures’ Jeff Davison looks at the IT landscape and doesn’t hesitate to pick an area that is on the move.
“One of the hottest spots in Delaware is the financial services industry,” he says. “They are all going mobile.”
Fintech has been a growing aspect of IT for a while now, but other sectors are becoming extremely interested in enhancing their technology operations as well.
CarePortMD, located at the Delaware Tech Park, is an example of how tech and data can lead to better outcomes in health care. CarePorts are small booths set up in community locations that allow patients to see providers around the country via a video link. They are available 18 hours a day, and diagnostics are provided in real time.
Even Delaware’s car dealerships are benefiting from a new infusion of tech. Santosh Viswanathan, the managing partner of Willis Ford in Smyrna, has amassed a network of 50 dealers representing more than 500 used vehicles.
Using a platform known as SPIN, the dealers can access inventory in other states and acquire units that will augment their offerings and provide more variety for potential customers. Thanks to the SPIN technology, dealers can work with each other, rather than paying high fees from auctions or relying on trade-ins.
“[Dealers] are dealing directly with each other, and [SPIN] is saving dealers a lot of time and money,” Viswanathan says. “This is a game changer.”
At Your Service
The days when companies filled rooms with servers and other equipment to manage their data and handle
operations are long gone.
“Instead of buying something [to upgrade] their servers, companies are paying by the month,” says David Gates, chairman of the Technology Forum of Delaware and president of the financial tech consulting firm Gates and Co. “It’s software as a service, and it allows them to buy two- or three-year contracts for constant upgrades. That way, they can understand their cash flow.”
The need to migrate information to the cloud or to create a hybrid has led firms to consider other ways to wrangle their data. Companies like Wilmington’s MySherpa are on top of this trend, providing managed services that handle their clients’ tech needs for a monthly fee. CompassRed, with a dual base in Wilmington and Philadelphia, uses data analytics to help clients better understand their customers and their own operations.
The Future of Data is Here
Meanwhile, Delaware’s researchers are busy driving the next generation of IT’s constant evolution.
In 2018, the University of Delaware established the Data Science Institute, where faculty and students are developing ways to synthesize large sets of data to predict future trends for business, medicine, industry and government, as well as to create curricular programs.
The institute is led by Dr. Cathy Wu, an expert in bioinformatics. “Under Dr. Wu’s leadership, UD’s Data Science Institute will become an exciting hub for interdisciplinary research, collaboration and excellence,” said UD President Dennis Assanis at the time of her appointment. “The institute will have a transformative role in the university and society, preparing our students to work effectively with big data and harness it to seize new opportunities and address the challenges facing our society in the fields of business, communications, personalized medicine and so many others.”
It’s just another way Delaware is leading transformation in the IT field, and transforming the world along the way.