Since identifying Iowa expats is one of the primary purposes of this blog, I thought I'd start with a the following list: "Ten Iowa expats in tech you should know". It's an updated version of a list that I researched, wrote and published on Silicon Prairie News in February 2013. Names are presented in alphabetical order.
Marc Andreessen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz
Menlo Park, Calif.
The Netscape founder turned venture capitalist has been called "the most powerful man in Silicon Valley."
Expat status: Born in Cedar Falls
Iowa ties: Andreessen Horowitz is an investor in Des Moines-based Dwolla and Solum, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that operates a labratory in Ames.
Craig Elliott, founder and CEO, Pertino, Inc.
Former Apple general manager who took Packeteer, his first networking startup, to IPO and is now building, Pertino, his second. Elliott was famously given a Porsche by Steve Jobs in 1984, the year Macintosh debuted, for selling the most units.
Expat Status: Grew up in Iowa and attended Iowa State University
Iowa ties: Board member for Ames-based Global Vet LINK
Scott Heiferman, co-founder and CEO, Meetup
New York City
Meetup, a way to organize local groups online, was founded by Heiferman more than 10 years ago and reports to be used by more than 11 million members each month.
Expat status: Attended the University of Iowa
Iowa ties: Spoke at the Startup Iowa Town Hall in Iowa City in October 2013
Ashton Kutcher, founder of A Grade Investments
Perhaps the most well-known celebrity tech investor, Kutcher has invested all sorts of well known startups from Skype to AirBNB.
Expat status: Cedar Rapids native and attended the University of Iowa
Steve Lee, director at Google, "Project Glass"
Project Glass is Google’s augmented reality project that’s built into wearable eyeglasses that debuted with a dramatic skydive/bmx/rappelling demo at the Google I/O conference in 2012.
Expat status: Grew up in Slater, Iowa and attended Iowa State University
Iowa ties: none identified
Aayush Phumbrha - Founder & Senior Vice President of Chegg
Almost every college student in Iowa knows about Chegg, the textbook rental company, but few know of its birth in Ames as a college town version of Craigslist. Phumbra, a Chegg user, purchased the site from its student founders and pivoted it into the "Netflix for textbooks" that is today.
Expat status: Attended Iowa State University
Chris Pirillo, founder of LockerGnome and tech personality
Pirillo is the technologist, TV/web personality, entrepreneur and author behind LockerGnome.com and the GnomeDex conferences.
Expat status: Grew up in Des Moines and attended the University of Northern Iowa
Iowa ties: Founded and held the Gnomedex conference in Des Moines from 2001-2003.
Preston-Werner co-founded GitHub, self proclaimed as the "largest code host in the world" in 2008. Priot to GitHub he created Gravatar and sold it to Automattic, the company behind Wordpress.
Expat status: Grew up in Dubuque.
Iowa ties: None identified.
Harper Reed, CEO of Lunar Technology Corporation, former CTO of Obama for America and former CTO of Threadless
Reed, the lead technologist of the Obama 2012 campaign, and his team have been the subject of numerous news and magazine stories about how technology played a role in their November election victory.
Expat status: Attended Cornell College
Iowa ties: Recruited two Des Moines-area developers, Derek Brooks and Nick Leeper, to join him on the technology organization of Obama's reelection campaign. Brooks - who returned to the Des Moines area after the campaign - is on Reed's team at Lunar
Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest
Pinterest, self-described as a “tool for collecting and organizing things you love” is one of the world’s most popular websites, was founded by Silbermann and launched in March 2010.
Expat status: Grew up in Des Moines
Iowa ties: Spoke at the inaugural Thinc Iowa in 2011