Des Moines is far from a hotbed yet, but it's on the way. Entrepreneurs can thank online payment provider Dwolla, which has managed to make it big, paving the way for others and inspiring a community.
"When you have a company that becomes a symbol, that really gives people a sense it can be done. It removes that chip on the shoulder," said Dane Stangler at the Kauffman Foundation.
Entrepreneurs in the Midwestern city also benefit from organizations like StartupCity De Moines, which provides working space, money and networking. Another program is Startup Iowa, part of the Startup America umbrella that hosts educational events and provides networking opportunities.