Growth is difficult without balance—just ask Tom Hanks in that movie Big. It might sound appealing to grow up overnight, but I seem to remember he had all kinds of problems adjusting to his new position in the world.

That’s why it’s good news for Philadelphia ranking #22 on CBRE’s Most Promising Tech Metro’s for the second year in a row. This means the city is holding steady in attracting tech talent, graduating skilled professionals, and tech job growth just ahead of the national average.  

And Philly isn’t the only city achieving more brain gain than brain drain. Cincinnati’s future-focused partnership FinTech Frontier is kicking off a series of virtual events and even hosting a $60,000 pitch competition to inspire and sustain financial technology startups.

Read more in this week’s Spark about the balanced tech expansion in the Unvalley, and the one Heartland city that has gone through the growth spurt of the century.

In This Issue:

  • 💥Tech’s Reverse Commute
  • 🏦The Bank Tech Built
  • 🔊Austin’s New Corporate Neighbors



💥Tech’s Reverse Commute

Steady as she grows. That’s the mantra of the tech community in Philadelphia, #22 on CBRE’s top-50 North American metro areas for tech talent attraction and growth. That’s two years in a row at that spot, meaning tech in Philly has become a normal part of the economy.

Tech’s impact on adjacent industries like real estate plays a big role in evaluating any city’s tech talent magnetism. Case in point: Colorado, where the tech industry has increased its real estate holdings 23% in the last two years alone. 

As Silicon Valley tech giants start to accept remote work as a long-term fact of life, cities throughout the Mighty Middle are continuing to answer the call to attract talent away from the Valley and fill good tech jobs. Pardon our dust during the remodel, folks.

🏦 The Bank That Tech Built

FinTech to the left, FinTech to the right, and you’re the only startup in town. While eCommerce continues to explode in light of the pandemic, the financial tech sector is keeping pace. Founders in FinTech are better poised than ever before to connect with VCs and investors. 

No surprise, then, that CB Insights’ Fintech 250 this year features plenty of startups from between the coasts, including:

We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader. With all this FinTech growth, Cincinnati is taking major steps to establish itself as a national leader in the sector. Pete Blackshaw of Cintrifuse makes a compelling case for the city and its FinTech Frontier program for its potential to make the Midwest the center of FinTech and InsureTech.

What is your local area doing to capture this FinTech lightning in a bottle?

Get ready to celebrate the top tech cultures between the coasts! Keep an eye out for our announcement opening up online, one-minute applications for this year’s Tech Culture Awards.


Top fundings, acquisitions, and IPOs between the coasts.

Albuquerque, NM

Atlanta, GA

Austin, TX

Chicago, IL

  • InsureTech startup Kin closed a $35 million Series B round led by Commerce Ventures and supported by Hudson Structured Capital Management, Flourish Ventures, and others.

Denver, CO

Kansas City, MO

  • Automotive startup BacklotCars has been acquired by KAR Global for a reported $425M. The transaction will combine KAR Global’s portfolio of physical and digital used car marketplaces with BacklotCars’ online marketplace.

Salt Lake City, UT

  • Sarcos Robotics has raised an additional $40 million in Series C funding led by Rotor Capital and supported by the majority of their existing investors. The new funds will continue to support their work in developing robots to augment human workers for increased efficiency and safety.

Washington, D.C.

  • Co-led by Clean Energy Ventures and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a new $12 million round has closed for SparkMeter, makers of smart utility meters for developing countries.


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:

Austin, TX:

  • Televet is a telemedicine platform for veterinarians, hiring a backend engineer, React Native mobile developer, and Talent & Culture Manager.
  • Disco is an eDiscovery tool for legal teams, hiring in product delivery, managed review, finance, and more departments.
  • Volusion is a turnkey ecommerce solution hiring multiple engineers and a Senior Product Manager.

Chicago, IL:

  • PatientIQ is a healthcare collaboration platform hiring data engineers, developers, sales executives, and more.
  • GoHealth is an online portal for finding health insurance coverage hiring for sales and marketing roles along with several engineering positions.

Indianapolis, IN:

  • Greenlight Guru is a quality management software for medical devices, hiring a sales development rep, customer success manager, and multiple product development roles for engineers and managers.
  • Socio is an event technology company hiring a Director of Finance, customer success and sales professionals, developers, designers, and more.

Raleigh, NC:

  • K4 Connect transforms senior living communities through tech, and is hiring a product manager to help advance their work.
  • LearnPlatform is an edtech platform hiring an inside sales analyst, customer success manager, and multiple development/engineering roles.

Multiple Locations or Remote:

  • Wheel is a platform for delivering virtual healthcare, hiring a Head of Clinical Training and Quality, corporate recruiter, multiple levels and skill sets of engineers, and many other roles in operations, medical, and IT capacities.
  • Differential helps companies build digital products, and is hiring a software developer to join the crew.

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

🏙Unvalley Spotlight

Austin, TX: Can the Nation’s Fastest-Growing Metro Area Stay Weird?

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

Austin has been a tech presence for decades, but for the last five years, it’s been more like a tech-splosion. Texas-splosion? In 2015 Forbes recognized this city #1 for tech growth, and things haven’t slowed down. With at least 58 companies publicly relocating their headquarters to Austin in 2019 and heavy-hitters like Apple & Tesla opening second locations, the main question on the minds of long-term residents is whether the city can maintain its legendary laid-back culture at a faster pace and larger scale.

Key Tech Facts About Austin, TX:

  • Job Growth: 15.8% of jobs in Austin are high-tech jobs, compared to 8.7% nationally. In 2018 high tech jobs grew at double the national average.
  • Some Fast-Growing Startups: Airtable, QuestionPro, Cloudflare, Bold Commerce
  • Most Active Investors:  Silverton Partners, ATX Venture Partners, Next Coast Ventures, UT Horizon Fund
  • Biggest Industries: Manufacturing, engineering, information, energy, R&D

Awards and Accolades:

“There’s a reason Austin has been dubbed ‘Silicon Hills’”–Business Insider

  • Austin’s tech market has grown by 25% over the past five years.
  • Austin experienced a 19.5% increase in venture funding in 2019, with local startups raising $1.84 billion for the year.
  • The city is one of the ten best places in the US to buy a house, according to WalletHub.

Learn more about how Austin is weathering the pandemic

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