Tech companies thriving in Wisconsin's smaller cities

Wisconsin is home to a growing number of companies in technology-related areas, from life sciences to software development. As this blog reported recently, analysts expect growth to continue given the many success stories and good return on investments in the industry. While most tech companies are located in or around Milwaukee and Madison, smaller cities are increasingly housing successful enterprises as well.

The predecessor for many of these companies is supercomputer manufacturer Cray, which was founded in Chippewa Falls in 1972. The business now has its headquarters in Seattle, but it remains one of Chippewa Falls' top employers. Revenue surpassed $421 million in 2012.

Renaissance Learning, which designs educational software, remains based in Wisconsin Rapids, where it was founded in 1985 and employs close to 1,000 workers. Last March, it was announced that private equity firm Hellman & Friedman would be purchasing the company for $1.1 billion. Another successful enterprise that serves the K-12 market is administrative software developer Skyward, in Stevens Point.

Along with Madison's Singlewire Software and Milwaukee's PKWARE, Inc., and Zywave, among others, these companies prove that Wisconsin is a viable location for tech businesses to set up and attract venture capital. Many tech companies survived the recession, and plenty more are thriving now with the economic recovery. As Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still writes in the Chippewa Valley Business Report, "The state may never become the next Silicon Valley, but it's not languishing in its Rust Belt image, either."

IT consultants can contribute to the growth of Wisconsin's businesses, helping manage companies' technology needs to ensure smooth operations.