How are startups in the state competing with major metros when it comes to recruiting tech talent? It comes down to internships, building a better corporate culture and staying creative, the Des Moines Register reports. Companies like Des Moines-based payments provider Dwolla offer unlimited vacation and stock options, while Coralville-based app maker Higher Learning Technologies is focusing on bringing students into the development process, and building a fun and innovative culture. "Every company has a way they do things, so getting them this young and early to do that is great," HLT Co-founder Adam Keune told the Register.

The strategy seems to be paying off for HLT, at least: The company was named the CBJ's Coolest Place to Work in 2015, and now has about 50 employees. Meanwhile, its apps have been downloaded 2.3 million times, and are used by students in 192 countries.