Like most people, we love it when we’re right. Our whole premise is based on a strong conviction that flyover cities are business friendly and great places to live. So we couldn’t help but give high fives around the ol’ Flyover Future office when we learned of new research showing flyover cities dominating a list of “Best Places for New Businesses.”
The new research, conducted by SmartAsset, looked at 50 metro areas and analyzed key metrics like early survival rate, percentage of new businesses that turn a profit, percentage of businesses that fail, percentages of businesses getting access to capital, and so on.
So where are the cities most friendly to new businesses? Kansas City topped the list, with Nashville, Memphis, Minneapolis, Louisville, and Milwaukee coming next. Other cities with strong showings include Charlotte, Birmingham, New Orleans, Detroit, and Oklahoma City.
$52M equity funding for Minneapolis mortgage marketing firm
Minneapolis-based marketing and customer-engagement software company Total Expert just raised $52 million in equity funding, its third such effort to date. One of the largest and most successful venture capital hauls in recent Minnesota history, this latest round of funding brings the company's total amount raised to $86 million. According to founder and CEO Joe Welu, Total Expert will use the fresh funding to hire more data scientists and software designers and ramp up development of application programming interfaces (APIs), machine learning, and other artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
“The future of financial services belongs to firms that combine human interaction with technology in a way that creates higher quality and more relevant experiences throughout the entire customer journey,” Welu said. “Every interaction a consumer has with a financial-services brand either erodes trust or builds trust.”
Welu founded Total Expert after 12 years in residential real estate, recognizing an opportunity to provide better tech-marketing tools for the mortgage industry. The company has enjoyed rapid growth, now employing well over 200 people and serving approximately 10% of the mortgage industry.
Charlotte may soon see a surge in healthcare startups
North Carolina is fertile ground for healthcare startups, particularly in Research Triangle Park (RTP). And now Charlotte, which has been a major fintech player, is starting to gain traction in the healthcare sector.
With issues like privacy, HIPAA regs, and electronic health records (EHRs), however, healthcare startups have to approach things differently from other types of startups. Charlotte-based entrepreneur Matt Yagey, founder of HIPAA-compliant communications platform MedChat, has seen that first hand.
“You can’t build a general tool and think that it’s going to plug into health care; it very rarely works like that,” he said. “If you’re going to work in the health care space, your solution needs to be designed specifically for the industry itself.”
Charlotte’s healthcare entrepreneurs may also have to grapple with a lack of support from healthcare leaders and mentors, at least for now. While the city’s Queen City Fintech has built a broad network for financial technology companies, there’s currently no equivalent support system for healthcare startups. Still, Charlotte’s healthtech is on its way.
In fact, Yagey says the city may eventually overtake RTP in the health technology arena. “I think it’s only a matter of time before the investors start to recognize Charlotte as a bigger tech hub.”
How fan-pleasing tech is helping the Pittsburgh Steelers
About 10 years ago, NFL clubs began asking, “How can we compete with the couch?” In its quest to bring fans out to the stadium, the answer, as is so often the case these days, was mobile technology.
Software company YinzCam, founded in 2009 by Carnegie Mellon University professor Priya Narasimhan, opened the door to mobile app tech that today’s sports fans demand as part of their stadium experience. And third in line to license that tech? The Pittsburgh Steelers.
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