“Being in the Midwest, you get the best of all worlds and add your own flavor to it.” — Big Sean
- A Midwest talent boomerang
- Grab your headphones
- Ann Arbor's hot startup scene
- Keeping local talent from leaving
- KC's building innovative schools
- Fueling the Future
- Vogt Awards Demo Day — Oct. 15
- Name that Flyover City!
October 1, 2020
Midwest sees a talent boomerang
Image by MarTata for Shutterstock
As zealous advocates of innovation in the heartland, we always have an ear to the ground for stories about the great business climate here. So we were handing out high fives when we caught this interview in The Hustle with David Hall, managing partner for Rise of the Rest, the seed fund of VC firm Revolution. Hall shared some of the action going on in the Midwest, where he sees a “boomerang of talent” coming back from Silicon Valley.
COVID has accelerated a trend that sees tech talent leaving the Bay Area for career opportunities closer to home and a better cost of living. Cities are becoming more savvy, too, establishing infrastructure, partnering with universities, and developing programs. Some of the notable examples he cites include ExactTarget’s impact on Indianapolis, Minneapolis’ healthcare-tech, Madison’s skilled-manufacturing tech, and Kentucky’s next-gen farming solutions.
Writing for Xconomy, David Brophy, director of the Office for the Study of Private Equity Finance and professor of finance at Michigan Ross, said:
“We’ll see investors and entrepreneurs from both coasts trying to come to the Midwest because the region offers a high quality of living and great schools at a lower cost than on the coasts. High-net-worth investors will see it’s now more economical to build entrepreneurial companies in the Midwest than on either the East or West Coast.”
Stay tuned! The best is yet to come.
Good morning passengers. We're happy to announce a new in-flight entertainment option for our readers: Flyover Future Presents: Innovators podcast.
Flyover Future keeps up with hundreds of top innovators making huge impacts on our quality of life in the Midwest and beyond. We see amazing research being turned into world-changing technologies and Fortune 500 companies investing in the future like never before. And, we never cease to be amazed by the creativity we are privileged to see each and every day. Now, we want you to hear their stories directly.
Ben Reno-Weber, entrepreneur and director of the Future of Work Initiative and Brian Eichenberger, producer and podcast extraordinaire will co-host season one.
You will hear from innovators pushing boundaries — whether that’s starting a company from scratch, a billion dollar company re-imagining its business, or a new way to leverage data. Speaking of data, in Season 1 we will be discussing how data and AI are driving innovation across Flyover Country. Join us and our sponsor, the Future of Work Initiative powered by Microsoft, for an exciting and insightful first season.
Episode 1: Judy Nichols, CEO of Breakpoint Technology
Predicting cardiac arrest, discovering why ER admissions increase for one town when it rains, and optimizing supply chain — thank you data revolution!
Frontline data worker turned CEO Judy Nichols of Breakpoint Technology is our guest in the inaugural episode of Flyover Future Presents: Innovators podcast. We talk with Judy about how harnessing data fundamentals and fostering a data culture through change management will transform our future.
You can listen this episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, or wherever else you get your podcasts.
Ann Arbor startup climate going strong
The University of Michigan launched 31 startup companies over the past fiscal year, up 40% over the previous year. The startups raised $237 million and brought in $14.5 million from licensing. It’s an especially impressive accomplishment considering the pandemic closed so many doors.
University researchers also launched a record 522 inventions and 163 US patents. Some of the splashier startup successes include biotech Ascentage Pharma, a startup working to cure cancer, hepatitis B, and age-related diseases; healthcare company Great Lakes Discoveries; water infrastructure analytics company BlueConduit; and medical testing company LynxDx. And for those who like companies that use cute robots to deliver food, the university launched one of those, too: Refraction AI.
Pittsburgh Passport offers grads a taste of cultural and professional opportunities
A Pittsburgh internship program is aimed at keeping local talent from leaving the city after they graduate college, as well as promoting a more diverse workforce. The Pittsburgh Passport program (“discover what it’s like to live, work, and play in Pittsburgh”), a collaboration between local employers and schools, launched last year and was well received. It drew more than 1,500 participants from around the world with in-person events like personal development seminars, volunteer opportunities, a kickball tournament, and kayaking excursions.
This year, in-person was off the table, so the program went virtual—and actually increased the number of participants to 1,700. In June and July, the program offered 24 Zoom programs, which ran the gamut from an open mic night to a tech talk series covering fintech, space missions, and startups.
New this year was a case competition that challenged teams to address three topics: back to school during COVID-19, social justice issues, and welcome to Pittsburgh. The winners shared a $30,000 prize and won a private networking event with employers.
K12 Fellowship accelerator
- TCARE, a “federally accredited family caregiver support platform” based in St. Louis, has landed a $3 million financing round. The round was led by SixThirty Ventures, with participation by Aflac Ventures, BlueCross BlueShield MN, Blu Ventures, Village Capital, Connetic Ventures, and gener8tor fund.
- Open Broadband, a wireless internet service provider located in North Carolina, has received backing from 12 investors to help support its efforts to bring broadband to underserved communities in the state. All told, the investment adds up to $500,000 in equity, with each participant investing at least $5,000.
- AaDya has just closed a $2.7 million funding round, making it the third Metro Detroit cybersecurity firm to announce multimillion-dollar investments. The other two are Ann Arbor's Censys ($15.5 million) and Blumira ($2.6 million).
- Indy’s Sharpen Technologies has secured $12 million in capital growth funding, raising its total investment to more than $40 million. The company has seen a growth rate of 137% over the past three years, which landed it on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the country.
Attend the virtual Vogt Awards Demo Day on Oct. 15
Register now for the virtual Vogt Awards Demo Day on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Meet the six 2020 early-stage companies selected to each receive a $25,000 grant, participation in a 10-week lean startup program, coaching from scalable startup CEOs, industry mentorship, and strategic introductions. With the announcement of these winners, the Community Foundation of Louisville is honored to have supported 84 companies with $3.5 million in Vogt Award grants throughout the program's 20-year history. You don’t want to miss this celebration, register here.
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
Test your Flyover geographic knowledge with these three "stumpers." There are no prizes (except for bragging rights).
- Where would you find the largest indoor rainforest in the US?
- What was the first city in the US to successfully demonstrate electric lighting?
- What city hosted the first Olympics in the US?
Click here for today's answers.
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