Meet 2 Flyover leaders; exciting startup news – November 4, 2019
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxwell
Endeavor: Building high-growth businesses in the Flyover Country
Flyover Future met with Jackson Andrews, managing director of the Louisville office of Endeavor, a global movement to catalyze job creation, wealth creation, and inspiration in often overlooked and underserved markets. We asked him about Endeavor's vision.
How did Endeavor come to be?
Andrews: Endeavor is a nonprofit that was founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner with a simple thesis: There are great entrepreneurs and companies everywhere but often in underserved markets where they don’t have the same access to capital and talent that businesses on the U.S. coasts do.
Endeavor goes into those underserved markets and clears a lot of those barriers, provides a path to resources, and allows those companies to scale, creating hundreds or thousands of jobs with commensurate revenue generation. The support puts the entrepreneurs in a position where they can invest, not just with finances, but with their expertise and inspiration, serving as examples for others to follow.
Endeavor opened its first office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has spread across the globe. It opened a Louisville office in 2013. The office also covers Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The nonprofit is funded through foundations and board members, and we expect entrepreneurs to pay it forward. Endeavor entrepreneurs from the Louisville region in 2018 generated revenue of more than $86 million and have created more than 675 jobs.
What can Louisville do to support entrepreneurs in direct and helpful ways?
Andrews: We’ve got an amazing story to tell. We need to shout it from a mountain. Local businesses tend to be tech-driven and are hiring at a rapid rate, adding young, dynamic, tech-savvy employees for relatively high-quality, high-paying jobs. The businesses need help from our community at large so they can not just tell their stories but the story of the region to foster talent attraction. It’s a global talent race. It’s a dynamic that exists in every city, and there’s no silver bullet.
Competition for talent is high, and we can really put wind in the sails of a lot of local entrepreneurs and the larger business community if we support talent attraction and talent development. We want to give them everything we can so they have as big a success as possible. Talent attraction and development are quintessential to not just the work of the future, but the work of today.
What is the best thing about having a startup in Flyover Country?
Andrews: Capital efficiency. Local entrepreneurs tend to have an ability to build their businesses in a capital efficient way, to do more with less venture capital. That’s better for the entrepreneur, but also for the employee and investor. It’s a real strength. And that’s not lost on the folks in Silicon Valley, in part because the cost structure in some of the coastal cities is getting, at best, tenuous. That’s a real advantage for us. Local entrepreneurs excel at getting to and understanding customers’ challenges and thinking about solutions that perhaps folks on the coast aren’t thinking about in the same way because they don’t have the same level of exposure to certain industries.
If you’re not very familiar with warehousing, e-commerce, and logistics because those industries don’t exist where you are, you’re not going to be the one to build the better solution in that space. So here in middle America, we are closer to customers and consumers. And most of the country is middle America, which gives us a great line of sight for what the customer wants and is willing to pay for. That makes for a very compelling case to building a large, high-growth, scalable businesses in this part of the country.
What book are you reading right now or which one would you recommend?
Andrews: I just finished reading Venture Capital: an America History by Tom Nicholas. Fascinating book about business and history.
Cincinnati's Cloverleaf a start-up success
If you’ve worked in an office setting for any length of time, you’ve probably been on great teams and teams that suck. Teams that feel like families and teams that feel like families who want to punch each other in the head. What is the magic formula? Is there a magic formula?
Cloverleaf offers personal, team, and enterprise plans to help companies create teams that build self-awareness, generate deeper relationships, eliminate communication breakdowns, foster empathy, and break down barriers. Check out an interview with Moorfield here.
HIGH FLYING STARTUPS
PierianDx closes $27 million Series B financing round
A St. Louis genomics informatics company has landed a $27 million investment to expand its clinical genomics platform around the world. PierianDx, a company born in the halls of Washington University in St. Louis in 2014, works to advance cancer diagnostics via the holy grail of cancer work these days: highly targeted therapeutics.
The company’s platform powers diagnostic labs in “next generation sequencing,” which can quickly sequence whole genomes and study rare variants. The technology promises to revolutionize the way cancer is treated worldwide and make advanced cancer diagnoses affordable to everyone. The Series B funding, from six venture-capital and healthcare partners, will allow the company to grow rapidly and take its next generation sequencing to labs and clinics around the globe.
Accelerator boosts Iowa’s edtech sector
A new education technology accelerator hopes to bring 25 edtech startups to eastern Iowa in the next five years. Iowa EdTech Accelerator, based in Iowa City, wants to capitalize on the Hawkeye State’s edtech prowess and position the state as a national leader in education talent and technology.
Home to education giants like ACT—purveyors of the standardized test every high school kid loves to hate—education publisher McGraw Hill, and mobile developer Higher Learning Technologies, Iowa has long been a hotbed of education industry services. Those businesses will combine efforts with the University of Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority to help the new accelerator develop Iowa’s edtech sector. The new initiative is optimistic it can create 1,000 jobs in edtech over that five-year period.
IN FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
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