“The road back may not be as short as we wish, but there are solid reasons to feel confident about the future." — Richard Parsons
- Working towards equality
- Podcast: Prioritizing data to prioritize care
- Venture funds to support Black startups
- Meijer helps small business owners of color
- Remote blood collection tech
- IU contributed $10B to Indiana economy
- Fueling the Future
- Name that Flyover City!
October 29, 2020
According to the National Venture Capital Association, last year U.S. venture capital investments surpassed $130 billion for the second year in a row, which allowed over 10,777 high-growth companies to grow and scale. However, fewer than 1% of Black founders have successfully accessed this capital.
Funding entities all over Flyover Country are making concerted efforts to correct this disparity. In this issue, we highlight a few of those.
KC health foundation to add economic inclusion and race equity to mission
CEO Qiana Thomason, Health Forward Foundation
A large Kansas City health foundation will focus its funding on economic inclusion and race equity. Reasoning that poverty leads to poor health outcomes, the Health Forward Foundation will concentrate on fighting wealth inequality and structural racism. The foundation makes $20 million in grants each year.
One factor in making the shift to equity and inclusion was an examination of the foundation’s own record. Last year, just 18% of Health Forward’s grants went to organizations led by people of color. To improve that record, the foundation will assess issues like education, home ownership, affordable housing, and workforce development. The foundation will also help people of color find access to more philanthropic money.
Prioritizing data to prioritize care
Tawanda Chitapa never had the opportunity to touch a computer in his native Zimbabwe. He did, however, recognize the opportunity in technology (apparently also a big deal in the 90s). Upon arriving at Western Kentucky University, Chitapa declared computer science his major. Today, he's at the forefront of leveraging data and AI at Norton Healthcare to help high-risk patients avoid infectious diseases and to improve recovery for those leaving the hospital.
In this week's episode of Flyover Future's Innovators podcast, hosts Ben Reno-Weber from Louisville’s Future of Work Initiative and our executive producer Brian Eichenberger talk with Chitapa about data strategy, governance, and how to serve multiple stakeholders.
Venture funds converge to support Black startups
Michigan racial equity loan fund gets $500K investment
Excluded entrepreneurs—small business owners of color—run into roadblocks trying to obtain conventional loans, and that drives them to seek predatory loans. Rende Progress Capital, a racial equity loan fund in Grand Rapids, has received $500,000 from Meijer Inc. to help address this problem.
The Meijer investment is intended to help close the racial wealth gap and eliminate the barriers to obtaining conventional loans—which, by some estimates, result in 36% more loan denials than their white counterparts experience.
Remote blood collection tech grew from UW Madison research
A pair of University of Wisconsin researchers came up with a concept for “the Netflix of blood collection” in 2011. In the midst of their doctoral research, they had a difficult time collecting blood samples. But the Netflix shipping model—DVDs delivered and returned by mail—gave them the idea of developing a simple way for people to draw blood samples and return them to the lab.
Since then, the business that has grown from that concept—Tasso—has received funding from DARPA and multiple grants from other governmental agencies. Its OnDemand product, which makes it easy (and purportedly almost painless) for people to draw a sample using an injection-molded plastic device on their upper arm, enables users to collect a tube of blood and send it off to the lab via Tasso’s prepaid packaging.
IU contributes $10 billion to Indiana economy
A study commissioned by Indiana University has determined the school contributed nearly $10 billion to the Hoosier state’s economy in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. If that sounds like something Dr. Evil might say, consider the many ways a state’s flagship university contributes economic value, including student success, research and innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development. The university says its alumni contribute an additional $7 billion. Hooray, college!
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants, and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
- Madison-based OnLume, developer of a device for fluorescence image-guided surgery, has received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute.
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
- What flyover city in the 1800s boasted the advertising slogan, “More boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome”?
- In what flyover city did Teddy Roosevelt deliver his famous “Speak softly and carry a big stick” speech?
- In 1982, radio personality Tim “The Rock N Roll Animal” U’ren climbed on a ledge from the 21st floor of his station and refused to leave until The Who agreed to perform there. In what city did this occur?
Click here for today's answers.
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