The definition of launching a career is changing quickly, especially as the Class of 2020 has officially graduated to record-high unemployment. 

A new comprehensive study by LinkedIn identified the top 15 US cities to launch your career—and not one is on the coast. The study broke down the rankings based on affordable rent, good starting salaries, and available job opportunities.

The 5 top cities to launch your career are:

  1. St. Louis
  2. Milwaukee
  3. Cleveland
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Indianapolis 

You’ll learn even more about some of these top-ranked tech hubs in this edition of The Spark. Enjoy!


Top Stories

Big Cos Creating New Cos
Indianapolis, IN

Spin-ups are a reinvestment in local tech ecosystems, and Indianapolis-based venture studio High Alpha is helping big corporations (Big Cos) nurture their roots. Through new business line High Alpha Innovation, the studio is helping companies like Silicon Valley Bank, Cummins, and Allegion create new products or businesses from existing internal innovation. To date, 24 startups (New Cos) have raised over $140M in follow-on funding.

Existing Businesses Aren’t Enough
Anywhere, USA

As Congress resumes debate over which businesses deserve funding, experts like Steve Case, chairman and chief executive of Revolution, points out we can’t grow to new success by restoring old ways. Supporting existing businesses doesn’t guarantee a return to pre-COVID employment numbers, let alone create new jobs. Instead, Case points to startups between the coasts as the best opportunity for funding to directly stimulate job creation and shore up local economies.

Skill Up Your Career Search
Baltimore, Maryland

Extra, extra: free online training for tech careers! Yes, this benefit is more accessible than ever through Catalyte’s RetrainAmerica exchange. This free resource connects job seekers to training in fields like cybersecurity, community healthcare, and technology. Employers can also join to source talent, after agreeing to provide participants with opportunity regardless of background or education. Catalyte is a workforce data science company committed to helping high-aptitude talent find opportunity.

Desert Startups In Economic Bloom
Phoenix, Arizona

Don’t ignore Arizona. The state’s tech ecosystem experienced record-setting years for venture capital investment in both 2018 and 2019. While the majority of the deals for Arizona-based startups were from seed to Series B-stages, several late-stage rounds like Nikola Motor Co’s $250M raise also made headlines. Plus, Phoenix’s ASU campus has been ranked “No. 1 in Innovation” by US News and World Report for the last 5 years, with the largest engineering school in the country to support the talent pipeline.

Magic Leap Gets Magic Lifeline
Plantation, Florida

1,000 tech employees are now living augmented reality. One month after issuing a 60-day WARN notice about sweeping layoffs, AR company Magic Leap has taken it back after receiving a $350M investment from unnamed current and new investors. The company will continue its plans to focus on enterprise products, citing healthcare and defense as some of the industries where it’s making deals.

IU Angel Network Funds Recess First
Bloomington, Indiana 

Recess is a LA-headquartered company with Midwest roots. Founded by two Indiana University alumni, the digital marketplace for event sponsorship helps major brands like Allstate, Lyft, and Nestle connect with event organizers on a local level. The company’s recent $3.7M raise included participation from the IU Angel Network, which facilitates investor connection to IU-affiliated companies across the world. Recess is the IU Angel Network’s first portfolio company. 

Panic? There’s a Button for That
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Safety is always worth an investment. Milwaukee-based Brady Corp has invested $6M in React Mobile, a startup that provides panic buttons to hotel housekeepers and other hospitality employees. These devices are increasingly required by law to protect employees from sexual assault and other harassment by guests. Brady Corp’s support will help accelerate installations of React Mobile’s devices from 30 sites a month to more than 100.

Caregiver Startup Plans to Double Staff
Dallas, TX 

Family caregivers, you are not alone. Dallas-based Cariloop was founded to help caregivers be less overwhelmed and connect more authentically with their sick loved ones. The startup recently closed a $6M Series A funding round led by Patterson Thoma and including KCRise Fund and Revolution Rise of the Rest. This allows Cariloop to quadruple its users and double its staff, including on-staff care coaches who are assigned to help each caregiver navigate their unique challenges.

Health Kiosks Get International Investment
Chicago, Illinois 

This isn’t the same pharmacy blood pressure kiosk. Health kiosk company Higi closed a $30M Series B round, led by UK AI company Babylon Health in its first official US investment. Return backers 7Wire Ventures, Flare Capital Partners, Jumpstart Capital, Rush University Medical Center for Health, and William Wrigley Jr also participated in the raise, which is expected to usher in Higi’s development of a more end-to-end healthcare solution.

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