What began as a biosciences-focused research campus in 2002 has grown into a thriving 200-acre innovation hub in St. Louis. Growth was moderate at first, but then the Cortex Innovation Community diversified into all technology sectors, and things began to take off.
The Cortex Innovation Community is now home to more than 400 tenants—including big players like Microsoft and Boeing—along with researchers, startups, project teams, and entrepreneurs. Altogether, the community boasts a technology-related workforce of 6,000 people, with coworking spaces, offices, labs, conference rooms, state-of-the-art resources, and a host of amenities.
The report offers a detailed look at the various ways Cortex has contributed to economic and community development in the region, as well as its functional impact in the areas of R&D, entrepreneurial support, venture funding, education and workforce development, and marketing and awareness building.
Tesseract Ventures brings next-gen tech to KC
Kansas City’s Tesseract Ventures makes a pretty bold claim: “We enable businesses to defy the boundaries of space and time through next-generation technologies.” What tech would that be, exactly? Stuff like “robots, smart spaces, wearables, and radically connected platforms.” The company is clearly not afraid of bold statements in general, declaring KC to be “America’s most quietly revolutionary place.”
“We are committed to fostering innovation in Kansas City and the Midwest. It’s wonderful to work with a team that understands the potential of this space. The process has been seamless so far and we’re looking forward to working together to build something special.”
A senior economic analyst at Glassdoor Amanda Stansell said, "The majority of the cities on this year's full list are found in the Midwest and south, with very few on or near the west coast. Many of these mid-sized cities like Pittsburgh and Austin are growing tech hubs with a healthy number of open jobs and much more affordable housing prices compared to bigger tech hubs like NYC and San Francisco."
Raleigh is number one. Flyover cities make up 9 out of the top 10:
Notable is that Ohio is home to three of the best cities for jobs, more than any other state: Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus.
To see the entire ranking, read the methodology and some of the prominent takeaways, click here.
ImprovEdge takes business training to a new level
Karen Hough knows a thing or two about improvisation. And her background as a professional actor and improvisor led her to develop an approach to business training that incorporates “an improv twist.” Her Columbus-based company, ImprovEdge, has delivered that training to 500K people worldwide, and it has more than 50 Fortune 500 clients. A scrolling list on the company website shows a diverse mix, including JPMorgan Chase, the U.S. Army, Coca-Cola Enterprises, NASA, ESPN, and Duke University.
So what exactly is ImprovEdge all about? The company offers coaching, workshops, keynotes, and e-learning to equip business professionals to be more nimble when dealing with mistakes, surprises, and the unexpected. In an interview with Entrepreneurs of Columbus, Hough described it this way:
“We combine the powerful behaviors of adaptability, flexibility, and think-on-your-feet success from improv with research in neuroscience and human behavior. Your leaders and teams walk out with real skills they can use immediately for better outcomes and knowledge that will help them grow for their entire career.”
In a nutshell, the company says, “Improv makes you better at everything.”
BioGenerator breaks the VC mold using a talent-first model
BioGenerator has adopted this approach because in St. Louis, it’s harder to find experienced managers than it is to find money. The company began to address the management shortage by establishing its entrepreneurs-in- residence program in 2011, along with the more recent Venture Capital Fellows Program. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, BioGenerator spent $800,000 last year to develop talent.
In 2017, the firm tapped two of its homegrown entrepreneurs to form a team and tasked it with finding promising technologies. The result was Canopy Biosciences, which now employs 50 people and has raised more than $4M in capital. BioGenerator also launched two additional companies last year using the talent-first approach: Cadre Bioscience and Wellth Holdings.
FUNDING THE FUTURE
Green Courte Partners acquires another land-lease community
You know those vending machines that tempt you with a bag of mid-morning Doritos, take your money, and then refuse to deliver the goods? Well PopCom ain’t that.
Based in Columbus, OH, PopCom has taken the vending machine/kiosk concept and sent it headlong into the future. The “intelligent vending platform” can accommodate way more than Doritos, too. Like roll-up flat shoes for those who need a break from foot-killing high heels—which is what inspired founder and CEO Dawn Dickson to develop the automated retail technology that became PopCom. Vending machine shoes. Oh hell yeah.
But the retail platform can do much, much more.
Dickson also knew the company needed to address current demands, like storefront reporting, crowd metrics, demographics, lead generation, and biometrics. So her company has taken full advantage of the tech to make that happen. For instance, face recognition and AI can provide omnichannel data such as traffic, engagement, and sentiment trends.
As Dickson summed it up, “Our mission is simple: equip entrepreneurs and brands with future-ready retail solutions that allow rapid retail expansion, incredible customer experiences, and powerful sales data to power the future of retail.”
It's ... Name that Flyover city!
Useless information that is strangely fascinating.
The Budweiser Clydesdales have been the spokes-horses for the brand for 80 years. In what city were they introduced?
Back in 2012, this city's symphony orchestra was in a deep financial crisis until Kid Rock--yes Kid Rock--threw a benefit concert.
Geraldine Fredritz Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world in 1964, starting and ending in this city.
Did you miss a newsletter, or simply wish to catch up on previous issues of Flyover Future? Then check out our newsletter archives here. View all complete issues of Flyover Future back to our initial launch date of August 5, 2019!