What’s putting the “Mo” back into “Mo-town”? Business still goes on.
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill
March 27, 2020
Metro Detroit is center of an automotive gold rush
Image by MikesPhotos from Pixabay
Electric vehicles are here to stay. But if “EV” makes you think Tesla or the new all-electric Ford Mustang, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Virtually all car and truck makers are working on all-electric vehicles, and that is a godsend for Detroit, where the automotive talent pool is deep.
Another startup, Rivian, is working on electric delivery vans for Amazon, which has already ordered 100,000 of the vehicles. And Detroit’s Bollinger Motors is building luxury electric pickups and SUVs.
There are many advantages to electric vehicles. There’s less maintenance, cheaper fuel, and fewer parts. And now, with so many companies working on the technology, the advantage over fossil-fuel vehicles is likely to widen.
As companies develop lighter and more powerful batteries, electric vehicles are going to be big for Detroit, where engineers already understand how to build and refine automobiles.
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Cincy’s innovation district could have a $3B economic impact
It’s official. Cincy’s Uptown Innovation Corridor now bears the name Cincinnati Innovation District. But the rebranding is just a small part of this economic impact initiative.
With the recent announcement of a public-private partnership that teams up JobsOhio, the University of Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, momentum is building for the district—including some hefty investment.
JobsOhio has pledged to invest $100 million over the next 10 years. UC and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will contribute $450 million annually in research.
Plans for the tech hub are ambitious, and expectations are high.
JobsOhio says the district will produce 15,000 STEM graduates, $2 billion in research and real estate development, 20,000 new jobs, and $3 billion in annual economic impact.
As Cincinnati mayor John Cranley put it, “The Cincinnati Innovation District is the next big thing for Cincinnati’s growth.”
Louisville, an AI and data economy hub?
Monday, we positioned Louisville as an eldercare hub. Today, It's cutting edge tech. You go, Louisville!
Microsoft has partnered with leaders in Louisville to become a Microsoft regional hub for artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and data science.
At a summit held in Louisville—Tomorrow’s Talent: AI & the Future of Work—Flyover Future had the opportunity to meet some of the companies and research institutions that are focused on AI and the new “data economy.” Here are just a few:
Enable.Ai, founded in 2017, offers proprietary machine-learning technology used to discover and interpret engagement on clients’ social media platforms, which helps business owners determine which content is really working.
FUELING THE FUTURE
Private equity firm acquires NC’s Transportation Impact
The Jordan Company, a NYC-based middle-market private equity firm, has acquired Transportation Impact, a logistics tech company located in North Carolina.
Food tech company announces $80M Series B funding round
Chicago food tech producer Nature's Fynd (formerly Sustainable Bioproducts) has raised $80 million in new funding. The round was led by sustainability-focused firms Generation Investment Management and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Cincy’s ReadySet Surgical closes on $5.5M
ReadySet Surgical, an IT healthcare company based in Cincinnati, has received $5.5 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by JumpStart Inc.'s NEXT Fund.
Recycling platform raises $28.6M in Series C financing
RoadRunner Recycling, a Pittsburgh-based commercial recycling platform, has raised a $28.6 million Series C financing round.
Maryland consulting company purchases St. Louis geospatial startup
Freedom Consulting Group has acquired veteran-owned geospatial solutions provider Geodata IT. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
NAVIGATING THE TURBULENCE
As we all hunker down to wait out the effects of the coronavirus, we will feature stories about the tech, medical research and business acumen that is constantly in action in flyover country.
COVID-19 exposure tracking app
An app designed by a Kansas City-based startup to help track cases of coronavirus has the support of the White House.
The project is called Private Kit: Safe Pathways, and it is designed to track the location of its users so that those who do test positive for the virus can have a log of where they've been and with whom they've been in contact.
The app is a result of a collaboration between KC-based TripleBlind, a data privacy company, and data science professor Ramesh Raskar from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.
It was Raskar who pitched the idea at a healthcare providers conference and caught the attention of an aid to Vice President Mike Pence, who has been President Donald Trump's point-person in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
It remains unclear when the app will be deployed, though a team of developers from around the country is working on it.
“They told us, ‘As soon as you’re ready, let us know,'” said TripleBlind chief operations officer Greg Storm in an interview with Startlandnews.com, His company has in recent days gained support of the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and other organizations on the front lines of the pandemic.
A smart bracelet that reminds you not to touch your face
Have you heard of trichotillomania? How about dermatillomania? Both are known as “body-part repetitive behaviors”—in this case, hair pulling and skin pulling. To help break habits like these, Minneapolis-based HabitAware developed a smart bracelet called Keen that detects repeated motions and issues a vibration to alert users to their actions.
Now, in the age of coronavirus, the Keen bracelet has found a new way to help.
We’re all aware of the CDC warnings to avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth—a tough habit to notice, much less break. But just as the Keen bracelet reminds users not to pull their hair, it can alert them not to touch their face.
HabitAware co-founder Aneela Idnani Kumar said the company has heard from numerous users and health care professionals who are using the bracelet to reduce face touching and help prevent the spread of the virus.
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