In a few days, neighborhoods might fill up with little ghosts and ghouls – but there’s nothing scary about the forecast for tech and startups between the coasts.

And speaking of monsters… just released a report that says two-thirds of remote workers are feeling burned out. 

Very few remote workers are taking time to recharge, though, and 42% of professionals working from home aren’t planning on taking any time off. Scroll down to get ideas for what companies can do to combat burnout and retain their best employees.

A new business report from Area Development shows that opportunities for tech between the coasts continue to grow. Keep scrolling to learn the top 20 states for doing business in 2020 (Utah, congrats on breaking into the list!)

The pandemic might be wreaking havoc on many industries – but foodtech isn’t one of them. AgFunder’s Mid-Year Investment review reported the innovative food startup category raised more in the first half of 2020 than they did in the entirety of 2019. 

Other foodtech companies are coming up with unique partnerships to feed Americans whose eating habits have changed due to the pandemic, and in June, GrubHub announced an acquisition deal with European-based Just Eat Takeaway.

Read on to get the details of these stories and more, in this week’s issue of The Spark:

Here are this week’s headlines:

  • 🔥Remote Workers Feel the Burn
  • 👀Unvalley Neighborhood Watch
  • 🍔Veggie Burgers for the Win


P.S. – Want to share what makes your culture unique, and earn national recognition for your team at the same time? Throw your hat in the ring for our 2020 Tech Culture Awards. Applications are open today.


🍔Veggie Burgers for the Win

It’s a mouthful. Innovative foodtech start-ups – like the ones that bring us alternative proteins – brought home the bacon in the first half of 2020. 

According to AgFunder’s Mid-Year Investment Review, companies in this category brought in more funding in H1 2020 than they did in all of 2019. Explore some of the companies they featured to look for opportunities in this rapidly-expanding sector.

A partnership as good as PB&J. In two Mighty Middle cities, the Kroger Company has launched an innovative partnership with ClusterTruck to offer fast, easy meals to consumers. 

Kroger stores in Indianapolis and Columbus will feature on-premise kitchens so shoppers can get ClusterTruck’s tasty street food via delivery or carry-out. ClusterTruck will also expand its offerings in their existing hubs: Indianapolis, Denver, and Kansas City.

Wanna taco ‘bout a big deal? Social distancing measures mean more and more Americans are looking to companies like Chicago-based GrubHub for meal delivery. Back in June, European company Just Eat Takeaway penned a deal to acquire GrubHub for $7.3 billion, in one of the most significant exits in foodtech. 

Interested in this industry? Here are five other fast-growing foodtech startups to watch:

As meal delivery competition reaches a boiling point, and creative match-ups rise, you’ll want to snag a piece of this pie.

👀Unvalley Neighborhood Watch

Movin’ on up. Tip of the hat to our friends over at Ginovus who shared Area Development’s recently released list of Top States for Doing Business – with several Unvalley states making the cut. Newcomer Utah broke through (#13) and Midwest States Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri moved up in the rankings. All of the companies on the list were recognized as states that are particularly business-friendly, offering low-income tax rates and fewer company regulations.

Lone Star pride. We’ve recognized Texas as a hotspot for startups in the past, and now the Lone Star state is in the news again. Hundreds of U.S. corporate executives participated in a survey to track business development trends, and results were released at the recent International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference. Texas was ranked by the execs as the best state for business for the eighth consecutive time. Governor Greg Abbott celebrated his state’s win online.

Looking for the perfect city to launch a new business? Business Insider just announced their list of the 25 best places to start a company.

These five Mighty Middle cities made the list:

  • #3 Dover, Delaware
  • #7 Las Vegas, Nevada
  • #8 Reno, Nevada
  • #9 Austin, Texas
  • #12 Manchester, New Hampshire

For investors and professionals considering new ventures or looking for opportunities, mark these cities and states on your mental maps.

🔥Remote Workers Feel the Burn

Feeling a little fried?? Monster’s recent survey reported that two-thirds of remote workers feel burned out. For employed workers, 42% say their stress levels are high or very high, and they report decreased mental health levels at three times the pre-pandemic rate (from 5% to 18%).

But despite the fatigue, workers aren’t taking time to recharge – 59% of this group are actually taking less time off than they normally would, and 42% of those still working from home are not planning to take any time off to decompress. 

Room to breathe. Companies and workers in the Unvalley can take steps to care for their remote workers. Combat burnout by encouraging employees to take time off, offering flexible schedules, and not requiring workers to return texts and emails during off-hours.

Celebrate the wins. Your company has been through a lot this year, and your employees could use a boost. Showcase their efforts, earn national recognition for your company culture, and help attract tech talent by applying for the 2020 Tech Culture Awards. You could win our award for Best Remote Culture – even if (especially if?) your team members show up on conference calls wearing pajama pants with a suit jacket!


Top fundings, acquisitions, and IPOs between the coasts. 

Atlanta, GA

  • Grayshift, a mobile device digital forensics provider, announced it has raised $47 million in a Series A round of financing. PeakEquity Partners led the round.
  • Loyal, an Atlanta, GA-based software solution for improved care utilization among health systems and hospitals, announced it has raised $12.5 million in a Series A round. Concord Health Partners led the round.

Boulder, CO

  • Resurface Labs, an API monitoring software that helps organizations fix application issues, announced it raised $2 million in a seed round. Access Venture Partners led the round with participation from new investors Alerion Ventures, FirstMile Ventures, SaaS Ventures, and Service Provider Capital.

Denver, CO

  • Brandzooka, a self-service digital advertising platform for brands and agencies, announced it has raised $5.6 million in a Series A round. Investors who participated in the round include Mark IV Capital, Lagomaj Capital, Rockies Venture Fund, and Batshit Crazy Ventures.

Indianapolis, IN

  • Mandolin, the digital platform designed to help artists, venues, and fans connect through live music, announced it has closed a $5 million seed round. The round had participation from High Alpha Capital, Marc Benioff, and several individual angel investors.
  • Vibenomics, a location-based audio out-of-home advertising platform, announced it has raised $6 million in Series A funding. BIP Capital led the round with participation from Elevate Ventures.

Madison, WI

Reston, VA

  • StreetShares, a financial technology company, announced it secured a $10 million round of funding. Motley Fool Ventures and Ally Ventures led the round with participation from several individual fintech angel investors.

Salt Lake City, UT

  • EveryoneSocial, a SaaS employee advocacy company, announced it raised $7.6 million in a Series A round. Next Frontier Capital led the funding round with participation from Crane Group and Epic Ventures.

Shelton, CT

  • Budderfly, a leader in growing Energy Efficiency as a Service market, announced it closed $7.8 million in equity funding. The round was led by Balance Point Capital and Edison Partners with additional participation from Connecticut Innovations.

🏙Unvalley Spotlight

St. Louis: The Gateway for Startups and Founders

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

Startups are booming in the city of St. Louis. Talent is starting to take notice of the city as a rising area for women entrepreneurs. And the area is credited as one of the country’s fastest-growing tech-scenes. 

“The Gateway to The West” is home to incredible tech companies and talent alike. Read on to see why founders and tech professionals are excited about St. Louis.

Key Tech Facts About St. Louis, MO:

Awards and Accolades:

Hop on the Startup Wagon and Head To the Gateway of the West.>>

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!