Five US tech hubs you probably didn't know about

Move over Silicon Valley. The current tech boom is not just in the Bay Area, and some unlikely cities are gaining traction as key hubs.

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While places like San Francisco, New York City and Austin, Texas, are often cited as thriving tech areas, other areas are gaining ground.

"These are areas that for the most part have a cheap cost of living and are major company hubs," said AJ Smith, a spokeswoman for the financial advice tech start-up SmartAsset.

Because every major company and government agency has a growing demand for skilled tech workers, more cities are attracting tech talent, she said.

"That is how these places become tech hubs," Smith added.

Omaha, Nebraska

Downtown Omaha, Nebraska
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Take Omaha, for example.

The city is home to five Fortune 500 companies including Berkshire Hathaway, Conagra and Union Pacific. These are all big companies in one city that require an enormous amount of tech talent, Smith said.

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Which is part of the reason Omaha was recently ranked the best city to work in tech, according to a report by SmartAsset.

SmartAsset reviewed data for 200 cities to determine the top locations. The rankings assessed a variety of factors including number of tech workers in the area, cost of living and the average wage of a tech worker versus the average wage for all workers in the city.

St. Louis has also had a fair amount of activity, with seven local companies being acquired since 2012, according to data from CB Insights, a firm that tracks venture capital investments.

Dallas

Dallas Texas
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Dallas is heating up as a hotbed for both tech workers and companies.

The city was ranked as the fourth best city to work in tech, according to SmartAsset's report. Those in the tech industry in Dallas make 73 percent higher wages than the city's average compensation and also account for 4 percent of Dallas's total workforce.

While the city is home to some big companies including Texas Instruments and AT&T, the city's start-up scene has also had significant growth, especially since the 2008 recession, said Aziz Gilani, a partner at the Houston-based venture capital firm Mercury Fund.

"Dallas was going through an identity crisis before the recession. It was a city that didn't have [a start-up] industry that was at all investable and had no funds to invest in them," Gilani said.

However, what emerged post-recession were three organizations that helped jump-start entrepreneurship in the city. These include The Dallas Entrepreneur Center, the tech accelerator Tech Wildcatters and the accelerator VentureSpur.

About 33 Dallas-based tech companies have been acquired since 2012, including the enterprise cloud company SoftLayer, which was bought by IBM in 2013 for $2 billion, according to data from CB Insights.

And the state of Texas is also slated for a big year of tech IPOs. The state has 22 tech companies in the the IPO pipeline for 2015, according to CB Insights.

St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri.
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St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Louis has seen growth in its tech start-up scene and has the venture capital dollars to prove it.

The city was the fastest growing area for total funding for tech start-ups in 2014, according to CB Insights.

From November 2013 through October 2014, funding in St. Louis-based tech start-ups increased 1,221 percent year over year.

In 2014 venture capitalists invested about $71.3 million in 21 deals, according to data from Pitchbook, a firm that tracks private equity and venture capital investments.

Washington, D.C.

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The nation's capital is one of the fastest growing U.S. markets in terms of deal growth for tech start-ups.

Between November 2013 and October 2014, the number of tech deals in the city grew 65 percent versus the previous year, according to CB Insights.

Some notable start-ups in the area include LivingSocial and TrackMaven, which is an analytics platform for digital marketers.

Washington also came in ninth when it comes to the top U.S. cities for tech start-up funding, according to data from the National Venture Capital Association. The city had 77 tech funding deals worth $456 million through the third quarter of 2014.

It also ranked second for the most people employed in tech, according to SmartAsset's study.

Miami

Miami at night
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Miami at night

Miami's beaches are hot, and so is the city's tech scene during the last few years.

Miami has had 19 tech acquisitions since 2012, according to CB Insights. One notable acquisition was the sale of the company .CO Internet, which Neustar bought for $109 million.

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In 2014, Miami-based start-ups also attracted about $49.4 million in venture funding over 11 deals.

The virtual reality start-up Magic Leap, which is based about 30 miles north of Miami, raised one of the largest U.S. tech funding rounds last year, according to CB Insights. The company locked in about $542 million from big VC firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures.

One reason Miami continues to see such strong growth in its start-up community is because of its diverse population, said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the Knight Foundation.

"There's a fantastic confluence of ideas and people from all over the world," Haggman said. "Our thinking is that all of the elements are here in Miami for start-ups and the numbers show the progress that we have already made."

During the last two years, the Knight Foundation has invested in more than 90 projects in Miami aimed at helping grow the start-up ecosystem.

One major event the foundation helps sponsor is eMerge Americas, which is a tech conference that aims to establish Miami as a major tech hub and connect industry leaders and investors with Latin America's top business executives.