What’s the simplest way to make $10k? All you have to do is work remotely—

…from Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Elon Musk almost placed his bet on Tulsa for the location of their Cybertruck manufacturing plant. Now Oklahoma is betting big on Tulsa to become the new place for young tech professionals to come and work remotely—and they’re paying $10,000 to anyone who takes them up on the offer. 

And while a new report on consumer sentiment around BigTech shows mixed results, optimism is at an all-time high in the world of Biotech.  

What downturn? Biotech firms are having their best year yet, as 37 venture-backed biotech companies have gone public to the tune of $6.7 billion. This is a trend worth watching as things continue to accelerate in 2020. 

Dive into these stories and more in this edition of The Spark.

More In This Issue:

  • ♤Tulsa Bets Big 
  • 🙏Trust in BigTech?
  • 🌱$6.7 Billion in Biotech
  • 💰Top Startup Fundings in Sept.


P.S. Do you know which tech hub has more tech degrees per capita than any other major city—even more than Boston, Denver, or San Francisco? Check out the Unvalley Spotlight below to find out. 😉


Tulsa Bets Big on Remote Work

Will “work from Tulsa” become the new “work from home?” Massive investments in Oklahoma are working to make that vision a reality.

As a growing city with low cost of living, Tulsa is setting itself up as the new place for young tech professionals to come and work remotely for companies around the country—and they’re paying $10,000 to anyone who takes them up on the offer. 

This is just one more sign that the future of work doesn’t necessarily mean living in the same city where your employer is based. Maybe that’s why Tulsa has invested $50 million dollars in workforce development initiatives focused on cyber technology, drones, energy, and tech.

Tesla in Tulsa? Say that five times fast. Elon Musk’s firm chose Austin, Texas as the home for its new Cybertruck manufacturing plant—but Tulsa made the shortlist, and Musk’s attention has only amplified broader interest in Tulsa as a burgeoning tech hub. The city’s rich manufacturing history has laid the groundwork for big investment in industrial real estate for a changing economy.

🙏 Big Tech’s Trust Factor

The plaintiff calls big tech to the stand. FleishmanHillard has released their TECHLASH 2020 report on consumer sentiment regarding technology companies—and the results aren’t spectacular. Consumers around the globe responded to questions about government regulation of tech companies and those firms’ policies. 

64% of respondents said they trust tech companies only somewhat, while 24%—nearly a quarter of consumers—said they don’t trust big tech very much.

Tell me there’s good news. Fortunately, the findings weren’t all bad. In the U.S., it seems consumers are putting more trust in the tech industry. 59% of those surveyed said they think tech companies need to seriously address the consequences of their policies, down from 78% in 2019.

There’s still a long way to go to build trust, but it seems tech companies are on the right track. Click here to read the full report.

🌱 $6.7 Billion in Biotech (and counting!)

What downturn? The economy might be in a tough transition, but biotech firms are having their best year yet. In 2020, no less than 37 venture-backed biotech companies have gone public to the tune of $6.7 billion. Compare that to 2019, when 51 biotech IPOs raised a collective $5 billion.

This is an encouraging sign that innovation is continuing to explode around the world, with a fewer number of biotech firms raising even more dollars to fund high-tech ventures in everything from messenger RNA tech to advanced cellular therapies.

Strong start, an even stronger finish. Unlike most industries where an IPO is a major media event filled with pomp and circumstance, the biotech industry has long treated IPOs as more of a fundraising move than a growth play. Biotech firms that go public, therefore, tend to have a great track record in the months and years following an IPO—and so many successful offerings can only encourage other companies to make their own debut.


Top fundings, acquisitions, and IPOs between the coasts. 

Burlington, VT

  • Burlington based CoreMap announced it has completed a $10.5M Series A financing. The round was led by Qure Ventures and included existing investors.

Denver, CO

  • Denver’s CometChat has closed a $1.6M seed round to build communication features. The company’s round was backed by Colorado’s Range Ventures, New York’s Silicon Badia, and Delaware-based iSeed Ventures.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Los Angeles, CA

Lehi, UT

  • Document management company eFileCabinet announced it closed a $11.5 million Series C funding round. The round was led by existing investors Allegis Capital and Signal Peak Ventures joined by several new investors.

Morrisville, NC

  • JupiterOne announced it raised $19 million in a Series A round to automate its cyber asset management platform. Bain Capital Ventures led the round with participation from Rain Capital and its parent company LifeOmic.

Minneapolis, MN

Pittsburgh, PA

  • Aspinity, a maker of ultra-low-power analog machine learning processors, announced it raised $5.3 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Anzu Partners with participation from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Birchmere Ventures, Mountain State Capital, and Riverfront Ventures.

San Diego, CA

  • Agragene, a sustainable agricultural technology company has raised an additional $4 million in Series A financing. Ospraie Ag Science backed the investment.
  • Cardea Bio announced their first closing in a $7.5 million Series A2 round of financing. The round was led by a partnership between Tsingyuan Ventures, Lifespan Investments, and Serra Ventures.

St. Louis, MO

  • The caregiver support platform TCARE announced it closed a $3 million financing round. SixThirty Ventures led the round, joined by Aflac Ventures, gener8tor fund, and several others.


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:

Cincinnati, OH

  • Callibrity is a custom software developer hiring Java and .NET developers.
  • Narwal is a team of automation and data experts hiring engineers, developers, data analysts, and more. 

Indianapolis, IN

  • Greenlight Guru is a medical device quality management company hiring an account executive and several product development roles. 
  • CleanSlate Technology Group provides enterprise tech consulting services, hiring solutions and cloud architects, consultants in different programming languages, a senior business development professional, and more.

Nashville, TN

  • Blueprint Title is a tool to streamline residential real estate closings, hiring escrow officers, business development professionals, and more. 
  • Built Technologies is a construction financing platform hiring bilingual customer support reps, operations analysts, a VP of Sales, a Head of Finance, and many other roles in-between. 
  • naviHealth is a tool to preserve the post-acute care continuum hiring inpatient care coordinators, product managers, quality consultants, a national accounts director, and more.

Remote or Multiple Locations 

  • Cordial is a content marketing platform hiring a product marketing manager, sales director, engineering, and more.
  • Unum ID is an identity verification tool hiring multiple senior developers and a VP of Enterprise Sales.

🏙Unvalley Spotlight

Salt Lake City, UT: Hop on the Startup Lift to Silicon Slopes

Salt Lake City has done a lot in the last few years to position itself as one of the top up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S. Nicknamed “Silicon Slopes,” the area has more tech degrees per capita than any other major city–even more than Boston, Denver, and San Francisco. 

Key Tech Facts About Salt Lake City, UT:

  • Investment in Utah startups in 2017, up from $273 million the year before: $393.5 million
  • Some Fast-Growing Startups: Simplus, RainFocus, FileVine, SaltStack
  • Average salary for a local software developer: $104,000 per year

Awards and Accolades:

  • Business Insider ranked Salt Lake City as the #14 best city to live in after the pandemic.
  • Inc. Magazine ranked Salt Lake City as its #2 city choice in its 2020 Surge City rankings.
  • CBRE ranked Salt Lake City at No. 22 on its list of cities for top tech talent.

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