"Winning takes precedence over all. There’s no gray area. No almosts." -- Kobe Bryant
- When your town's team is in the Super Bowl
- More good jobs coming to Durham, Knoxville and Tulsa
- Weed working in MI
- Funding and Deals
- JD Vance starts VC firm in Ohio
- Name that Flyover City!
January 31, 2020
It's a good time to be a Chiefs' fan
Photo from Shutterstock
As Kansas City heads to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, it's a good time to be a Chief's fan.
It’s also a good time to own a sports apparel company in Kansas City. Local apparel vendors are finding themselves the beneficiaries of the upsurge in local love.
Mark Launiu started MADE Urban Apparel in 2013. Things were slow going until the Royals headed to the World Series. Launiu told Startland News that with the Chiefs heading to the Super Bowl, “It’s like Christmas all over again.”
Keith Bradley, co-owner of Made in KC, says that the national spotlight on Kansas City has reinvigorated city spirit in locals and in Chiefs fans across the country, which is a great thing for sales.
It’s also a boost for the artists who design the clothing. “They can express how they are feeling about this event through their own designs or certain products,” Bradley told Startland.
According to Launiu, “It’s a beautiful time to be an entrepreneur in Kansas City right now.”
Eli Lilly to bring more than 462 jobs to Durham
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly is building a new facility in Durham that will employ about 462 people. The “integrated life science manufacturing facility” will both formulate and package new drugs for the pharmaceutical giant. At average annual wages of $73,000, the expansion will further boost the area’s already booming economy.
Initially, the project calls for manufacture of two diabetes drugs, Trulicity and Tirzepatide. The $474 million investment by Lilly came after a pledge of $12.5 million in incentives from North Carolina, which beat out Indiana and Pennsylvania for the project. Think drugs are good business? Eli Lilly employs 33,000 people worldwide, with 7,700 in R&D alone.
Toyota spinoff comes to Knoxville
There’s never a dull moment in the fast-changing world of automotive technology. Thanks to self-driving tech and other innovations of the car industry, it can be a challenge to keep employees trained on the latest advances. That’s why Denso, a global automotive components manufacturer, will open a new technical training center in suburban Knoxville in February. The company has pledged to invest $1 billion in its Maryville, TN, presence.
Denso, a spinoff from Toyota, makes alternators, blind-spot detection, keyless entry, and other smart car components. The new training center will educate 1,500 students per year and focus on robotics, mechanics, and electricity in 53 hands-on courses. The company is also collaborating with local community colleges to help prepare students for developing technologies like autonomous vehicles, AI, cybersecurity, and data analytics. Denso, which has 171,000 employees worldwide, obviously likes what it sees in the Volunteer State. Besides the Maryville facility, Denso has facilities in Athens, Nashville, and Jackson, Tennessee.
Tulsa's Future is leading, well, Tulsa's future
2019 was a good year for Tulsa. And an exclamation point of sorts on a decade of prosperity for the growing city, as well. Tulsa's Future, the public-private economic development partnership spearheaded by the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, released impressive figures showing substantial economic gains over the past calendar year, pointing to 2,600 new jobs and nearly $830 million in new investment throughout greater northeast Oklahoma.
Highlights include a $60 million production plant for Milo's Tea Company and 615 new jobs at American Airlines' rapidly expanding maintenance base. Adding to the warm fuzzies, Inc. Magazine also named Tulsa one of the 50 best places to start a new business, pointing to its tops-in-the-nation ranking for wage growth.
Tulsa Regional Chamber senior vice president Bill Murphy said, “Primary job growth has a ripple effect on the entire region, as each primary job supports additional secondary jobs in northeast Oklahoma.” In just the past four years Tulsa's Future has helped usher in $1.9 billion in capital investment adding more than 16,000 new jobs in that span.
Michigan's cannabis industry hits surge of activity
Image from Shutterstock
Following a successful statewide ballot referendum in 2018, Michigan became the 10th state in the US to enter the lucrative recreational marijuana marketplace. Dispensaries officially opened to the public on December 1st, 2019, and—to the surprise of literally no one—supplies were immediately running low. Andrew Brisbo, the executive director of Michigan's Marijuana Regulatory Agency noted, “The demand is there. The demand already existed.”
According to Brisbo's agency, the official launch of recreational marijuana sales was met with a surge of activity, with nearly three million customers immediately entering the market.
In an effort to accommodate the high demand—and to help neutralize black market sales—state officials are pursuing various ideas, including relaxing social consumption rules, allowing delivery services, and providing temporary event licenses much like those currently granted for public alcohol sales.
Brisbo added, “Michigan is in a very good position to be a huge national player in this industry.”
Lookout Illinois, you're next!
Indy region outstrips its 2018 record in investments and job creation
Regional economic development organization Indy Partnership just announced $2.6B in capital investment across the Indianapolis region, along with the creation of 8,700 jobs, in 2019.
Raleigh’s TriggerMesh announces $3 million seed funding round
Cloud-native integration platform provider TriggerMesh just received $3M in seed financing, led by Index Ventures and Crane Venture Partners.
Allos Ventures closes on $52M for third fund
VC firm Allos Ventures, which has offices in Indianapolis and Cincinnati, has closed on $52 million for its third fund. The new fund, Allos III, could support up to 30 high-growth technology companies across the Midwest.
TitletownTech leads $8 million round for Oculogica
Tech and venture fund TitletownTech, which is led by the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft, is leading an $8 million round of funding for digital healthcare company Oculogica.
$1B merger will combine four Chicago hospitals
Four South Side hospitals are being combined into a new system under a $1.1-billion plan, in an effort to address a “pretty dire” financial situation.
Hillbilly Elegy author starts new Ohio-based VC firm
J.D. Vance, author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, recently launched an Ohio-based venture capital firm called Narya Capital, roping in some serious Silicon Valley heavyweights along the way. With $93 million in funding raised thus far and more in the pipeline, Narya Capital will invest in heartland-based startups focused on science and advanced technology. While the bulk of American VC funds are based on the coasts, Ohio has seen a substantial increase in activity, with $1.5 billion in funds raised over the past 15 years.
Vance, who previously worked with Steve Case's Rise of the Rest fund, has teamed up with PayPal founder and Silicon Valley lightning rod Peter Thiel, among others, to fully realize Narya Capital's potential as a powerful change agent throughout Ohio and beyond.
Narya is also the name of Gandalf's elven Ring of Power, from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings fantasy realm, making Narya Capital either the coolest named VC fund on record or something borderline sacrilegious, depending on who you ask. Either way, it's a real boost for the Buckeye State.
It's ... Name that Flyover city!
Useless information that is strangely fascinating.
Can you match the famous person with the city of his birth?
- Before becoming interested in acting, Tom Cruise aspired to be a priest and briefly attended a Franciscan seminary in this city.
- In 1998, to mark the 100th anniversary of its incorporation, the officials of this city buried a Plymouth Prowler in its Centennial Park.
- This city is home to the largest children’s museum in the world.
Click here for today's answers
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