Is featuring my own feature too meta? What if the feature features my favorite features of non-traditional tech hubs? 

Okay, I’ll stop with the repetition, but in exchange, you should really listen to the Sales Evangelists podcast. We discussed how the hard-working and skilled tech talent pool in areas beyond Silicon Valley may be the key to national economic recovery. Spoiler alert!

Speaking of spoiled, data shows the pendulum is already swinging back on remote work. All this pressure to adapt while working from home means 75% of still-employed workers have experienced burnout since the start of the pandemic. You’ll learn just how many people are working from their bedroom later in this edition of the Spark (Pajamas optional).

And if you want to mix up the monotony with some lifelong learning, consider attending the OnRamp Manufacturing Conference with Gener8tor on October 14. This event brings together manufacturing’s leading corporations, investors, and startups. Innovators, assemble!

In this Issue:

  • 🎲Investors Betting on Unvalley
  • 💰Treat Yo’Self: Pandemic Edition
  • ⛰️Tech at 5,328 Feet 

—Matt


TOP STORIES

💣Burned Out on Burnout?

Did you ever think you’d need a home away from home…at home? When the pandemic hit early this year, many, including tech workers, were excited about a switch to remote work. But did we ever expect:

  • 40% working without a desk
  • 20% working from the living room
  • 28.6% working from the master bedroom.

72% of remote workers do not have a dedicated workspace. Experts believe creating a home office space can vastly improve mental wellness under these conditions. Employees spent an average of $194 on remote work tools to create their own support—just keep the receipts, ok?


Stay-at-home staycation, anyone? The burnout is being worsened by stresses related to childcare, yet 59% of employees are also uncomfortable taking time off. Companies are working to democratize the workplace by flattening hierarchies and giving employees more avenues for input to address these issues long-term. Will it be soon enough?

TLDR: If you’re struggling at home, just know you’re not alone. Boulder-based VC Brad Feld has also had his share of difficult moments and wants you to know from the top down that it’s okay if you’re not okay. 

💥 Investors Bet On Unvalley

Hub-ba, Hub-ba! Mighty Middle tech hubs are attracting major attention. Is Silicon Valley jealous yet? Companies and talent are pioneering out to nontraditional (Unvalley) tech hubs, and investors everywhere continue to fund the migration. 

Nationwide, lawmakers have introduced the Innovation Centers Acceleration Act, which provides $80 billion for growing Mighty Middle tech hubs like Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Indianapolis. 


What’s the saying about bootstraps? After financial hardships during and before COVID-19, black tech leaders in the Midwest have come up with their own solutions to assist minority-owned startups in their cities. For instance, in Kansas City, MO, the Porter House KC is offering digital entrepreneurship classes.

Cincinnati is giving a massive boost to its own startup community. The city is investing $1 billion for its “Innovation Corridor,” which unites startups and allows for collaboration between medicine, business, research, and technology.

Though people have constantly underestimated and undervalued Middle America, the startups we know, love, and support have never stopped believing. Hold on to that feeling!

💰Treat Yo’Self: Pandemic Edition

Any chance retail therapy cures COVID? As Americans hunkered down for the COVID-19 lockdown, experts theorized there might be a bump in online shopping. Less than six months later, the shift from in-store to online shopping has been accelerated by five years. What does that mean?

  • Department stores expected to drop by 60%
  • eCommerce should grow by 20%
  • Alcohol delivery sales grew by 16%

Economic downturn=Startup jump-start? Adjusting to COVID-19 has taken a big toll on traditional businesses. However, studies show that startups are particularly adept at pivoting to new circumstances, including remote work environments. 


For one e-Commerce startup, the pandemic has left their business booming. Spoonflower, a digital fabric printing company, based out of Durham, said their year-over-year growth has tripled in the last few months. 

It seems online shopping is set to be the future status quo. Good for startups, but bad for soft pretzel vendors! 

No matter what type of business, culture is the key to success. That’s why we annually host the Tech Culture Awards to recognize the top tech cultures between the coasts. Make sure to keep one minute open in your schedule soon to complete the easy application.


EXPLODING WITH OPPORTUNITY

Top fundings, acquisitions, and IPOs between the coasts.

Atlanta, GA

  • Artis, the low-friction lending platform for businesses, has finalized a $1.5 million seed funding round, led by Fintech Ventures Fund.

Austin, TX

  • Restream, a video streaming platform for content creators, has finalized a $50 million Series A funding round. The investments were co-led by Sapphire Ventures and Insight Partners.
  • Triumvira Immunologics, known for developing a groundbreaking cancer drug, has raised $55 million in funding. The Series A round was led by Leaps by Bayer.

Chicago, IL

  • 3D printing startup Azul3D announced $12.5 million in funding, led by Louis A. Simpson, former CIO for Geico.

Ellicott City, MD

Indianapolis, IN

Los Angeles, CA

Mclean, VA


STARTUPS STILL HIRING

Know someone looking for a new gig? The economy is unpredictable right now, but startups in the middle of the country are still hiring. 

We have a few our Top Powderkeg Picks below:

Companies who are hiring:

 Boulder, CO

  • LogRhythm is a next-gen security operations platform hiring in dozens of roles across departments like customer care, engineering, finance, sales, and beyond.
  • Stream is a feed building and personalization API hiring a Director of Social Media, a site reliability engineer, customer success representative, product content strategist, and more roles on a global scale.
  • Sovrn helps online publishers scale through secure data practices, hiring in customer success, sales, engineering, marketing, legal, and more.

Cincinnati, OH

  • Amify helps brands succeed on Amazon, hiring project managers, designers, a business manager, and more.
  • Flowspace is an inventory management platform hiring software engineers, a remote project manager, Head of People Operations, and more.

Indianapolis, IN

  • High Alpha is a venture studio hiring design, engineering, operations, and sales roles.
  • Springbuk is a health analytics software hiring a Director of Client Success, Enterprise Sales Director, Product Manager, Controller, and more.

Multiple Locations or Remote

  • Halo Health is a clinical collaboration platform hiring an IOS engineer, QA engineer, and multiple sales roles.
  • Evercommerce is a marketing and business management platform seeking a data analyst, security engineer, and multiple professionals for roles in both finance and marketing.

Need to optimize your resume for opportunities like these? Get feedback using our new resume review tool.


🏙Unvalley Spotlight

Boulder, CO: Explore the World’s Fastest-Rising Tech Hub At 5,328 Feet

In this section of the Spark, we illuminate some of the biggest opportunities in tech beyond Silicon Valley.

Boulder was named the world’s fastest-rising tech hub by SmallBusinessPrices thanks to its abundance of startups and investors, plus the second-fastest Internet. With a health-conscious and socially responsible local culture, this city is hearth and home to amazing professionals in almost every cutting-edge industry, including tech.

Key Tech Facts About Boulder, CO:

  • Job Growth: Boulder has the fourth-highest share of tech jobs in the country, with a median STEM salary of over $86,000 a year.
  • Fastest Growing Companies: Incripta, Sphero, Automox, Misty Robotics, Backbone PLM
  • Most Active Investors: Boomtown Accelerator and Stout Street Capital
  • Biggest Industries: Aerospace, Bioscience, Cleantech, Software Development

Awards and Accolades:

“America’s Startup Capital/City”—INC Magazine

  •  Highest tech startup density of any metro area in the United States
  •  Named “Happiest City in America” by National Geographic in 2017
  • Boulder is a Gold-level Walk Friendly Community and boasts one of America’s Best Bike Networks

Get an in-depth insider look at Boulder’s tech community


Are you looking for more news in tech between the coasts? It’s free to sign up for our hand-curated newsletter, The Spark, delivered to your inbox each week with the tech news outside Silicon Valley you need to know. Sign up here!

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