Big win for Ohio | $5M to support Black businesses in Milwaukee | Realto raises $4.5M

New battery component plant in Ohio to supply EV market

SIDNEY, OH–Semcorp, a Shanghai-based producer of electric vehicle battery components, plans to invest $916 million in a manufacturing plant in Sidney, Ohio. The facility will make separator film for lithium-ion batteries, and will employ nearly 1,200 people.

Northwestern Mutual creates funds to help Black businesses

MILWAUKEE, WI–Northwestern Mutual is investing $5 million in two Milwaukee-based community development financial institutions, Legacy Redevelopment Corp. and Northwest Side Community Development Corp. The investment is intended to help increase access to capital for Black businesses in the city.

Realto closes on $4.5M

KANSAS CITY, KS–Realto, a fully automated online marketplace for secondary trading of illiquid real estate and alternative securities, has closed on a $4.5 million funding round. The funding was led by Firebrand Ventures and received support from KCRise Fund.

Ascend Venture Capital launches fund for under-represented

ST. LOUIS, MO–Thematic “micro” venture capital firm Ascend Venture Capital launched its newest Opportunity Fund to provide up to $25 million in financing and operational support to early-stage startups led by Black, Latinx, women, immigrant, and LGBTQIA+ founders.

Brainwaves in virtual reality applications

AMES, IA–Ames startup BrainSoft has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant to conduct research and development work on using brainwaves in virtual reality applications. Once a business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant, it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $1,000,000).