“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
- EDA program to help tech startups scale
- See what companies are moving to flyover cities
- Delivering on land-grant university's economic mission
- What's happening in Flyover U?
- Startup uses design to help people learn to read
- Name that Flyover City!
March 2, 2020
EDA program to help economies through scalable startups
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced the launch of a redesigned program called Build to Scale (B2S). Under the Build to Scale Program, EDA will manage a portfolio of grant competitions that further technology-based economic development initiatives that "accelerate high quality job growth, create more economic opportunities, and support the future of the next generation of industry leading companies."
Congress has appropriated $33 million for the program, and the EDA has designed a streamlined application to improve the application process will enable it to reach more communities and scale the impact of the program.
There are three separate competitions in the Build to Scale Program:
The Venture Challenge, which makes $26 million available to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in communities, regions or combinations of regions.
The Capital Challenge, formerly known as “Seed Fund Support,” which makes $5 million available to increase access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply.
The Industry Challenge, in partnership with the Department of Energy, which makes $4 million available to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth within the Blue Economy.
For more information on the program, click here.
Solinftec moving global headquarters to Indiana
Photo credit: Purdue University
Solinftec, a leader in the booming digital agriculture field, announced that it will officially move its global headquarters from Brazil to West Lafayette, IN, bringing hundreds of high-wage jobs along with it. The latest move follows a $50 million investment announced in late 2018 that established the company's US headquarters in West Lafayette, conveniently situated in Purdue University's backyard, where all things agtech reign supreme.
According to Daniel Padrão, Solinftec's chief operating officer, the move to Indiana will allow the company to fully focus on the increasing demand in the North American market for the company's award-winning crop-optimization services. Solinftec's SaaS platform equips farmers with the power to harness real-time insights on crop management and maximize overall crop yields, while reducing environmental impacts in the process.
The move to Indiana is a natural fit, where agbiosciences already account for nearly $16 billion of the state's annual GDP.
How B2B payment network AvidXchange landed in Charlotte
It’s the magic formula every city aspires to: What kinds of amenities and incentives are best able to attract business investment? For an insider’s perspective, check out the Charlotte Observer’s interview with AvidXchange CEO Mike Praeger, “How a Labor Day weekend on Lake Norman scored Charlotte a $2 billion startup.”
AvidXchange makes software that eliminates paper invoices and checks for companies by automating accounts payable and payment processes. Praeger co-founded the company in 2000; today it has a valuation of $2 billion. In the interview, Praeger explains that Charlotte offered a lot of the factors he was looking for when he and his wife (who is also an entrepreneur) chose the city, including warm weather, low cost of living, a major airport and a thriving business community.
But a key ingredient was Charlotte’s supportive startup ecosystem, including support from top local finance figures such as Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl and former Wachovia CEO Ed Crutchfield, who both invested in the startup. That investment has clearly paid off for the investors but also for the city. AvidXchange employs more than 1,100 people in Charlotte, a figure that grows by about 225 each year.
Nashville-based Built buys software firm
As crazy as it might sound, some pockets of the business world are still using paper to run their businesses. The construction industry, for instance, is often mired in paperwork, especially when it comes to capital. One company trying to change that is Built Technologies, a Nashville startup that manages loan disbursements and simplifies the way borrowers and contractors access capital from lenders. The fast-growing company employs 125 people in suburban Nashville.
Now comes news that Built has purchased Lienwaivers.io, a Sioux City, IA- based startup that brings automation to lien waivers. With the acquisition, Built will create a new division called Built for Contractors. The division will help commercial real estate owners, builders, contractors, title companies, and lenders manage the process of construction finance. Investors apparently like what they see: Built has been on a roll the past couple of years, raising more than $50 million since 2018.
Kansas State University's new tech transfer initiative
The research foundation of Kansas State University and its Institute for Commercialization have combined over the years to create more than 500 jobs in the Flint Hills region of Kansas resulting in more than $28 million in annual salaries.
Now, the two organizations have merged to create Innovation Partners, streamlining their approach to corporate relations, technology transfer and economic development to spur even more growth.
The merger was completed last July and allows Innovation Partners to better leverage its resources to deliver on the land-grant university's economic mission. The research foundation has worked since 1942 to connect Kansas State researchers with projects that promote the school's intellectual property — more than 58 patents have been granted to them in the last five years alone. The Institute for Commercialization came along in 1994 with a focus on starting and expanding tech-based, high-growth enterprises.
“One of my charges was to bring these units together as a unique hub for intellectual property protection, commercialization and corporate engagement,” said Peter Dorhout, vice president of research at Kansas State. “Unifying these offices will achieve that goal and will strength our ability to collaborate internally at K-State as well as externally.”
University of Nebraska at Omaha to become hub of counterterrorism research
With a $3.65 million-a-year grant for 10 years, the university will lead a group of academic, industry, laboratory partners and government to find ways to prevent or counteract threats to the nation’s people, infrastructure and economy.
Making Pittsburgh a hub for neuroscience
Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh join forces to form the Neurovascular Coupling Interest Group, one of the new Collaboration Clusters funded by the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC),
The University of Louisville advances next-gen manufacturing tech
The Kentucky National Science Foundation’s (NSF) EPSCoR, or Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, has awarded a $24 million grant to the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky (with six other Kentucky institutions) to advance next generation manufacturing technology.
The NIH awards Purdue $3.2 million to fight deadly lung infections
A Purdue team has received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for its work to treat antibiotic-resistant lower respiratory infections – the fourth-leading cause of death worldwide.
Startup uses design to help people learn to read
See Word Design, a startup founded by Renee Seward, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, is attracting national attention.
It uses graphics to assist young readers by providing visual clues to give them context and help them understand the material. Though originally created to help children with dyslexia, the technology has broad potential, from young children learning the alphabet to future products that will meet the needs of adults for whom English is a second language.
Seward’s journey began when she realized that the same strategies used to build brands could possibly help teach reading skills to youngsters. She started visiting private schools and talking to technology specialists to see whether such a vision of benefiting early education could be realized.
She’s also working on new font technology that will aid in literacy and hopes to expand the app to include stories for all ages, so her tool can teach English to adults as well.
The idea became a reality through the Venture Lab at the University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Innovation Hub, which helps UC faculty, staff, students, and alumni commercialize their ideas.
Venture Lab entrepreneur-in-residence Nancy Koors, who co-founded See Word Design, now serves as the company's CEO.
The See Word Reading app is currently being tested around the world in schools from Cincinnati to Singapore.
It's ... Name that Flyover city!
Useless information that is strangely fascinating.
- The oldest operating steamboat in the United States, and the oldest operating Mississippi River-style steamboat in the world, is located in what city?
- This city is the largest city in the United States with a silent first letter?
- You might have been able to tell from his accent, but what city did the late comedian Chris Farley hail from?
Click here for today's answers.
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