From the September Issue


How Mississippi Became a Thriving Hub for Startups

Dig beneath the surface and you’ll find innovation popping up all over the state, says Innovate Mississippi President and CEO Tony Jeff.

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From the September Issue


Longtime Partner

A new project in West Lafayette continues a long tradition of innovation and industry collaboration at Purdue University. Plus a look at Association of University Research Parks award winner University of Utah Research Park, and why the newest AURP member is in outer space.

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More than $42 billion in seed- and early-stage VC dollars from the Bay Area and New York has taken a stroll in the Los Angeles metro area since 2011, leading the nation in metro-area VC dollars when the traditional VC capitals of the Bay Area, New York and Boston are excluded.
Photo of Griffith Park Trail courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund got together with PitchBook to research whether efforts to support and document venture capital investment outside the usual coastal hubs was yielding fruit. What they found was that in 2021, for the first time in a decade, the proportion of seed- and early-stage capital invested in Bay Area startups is on pace to drop below 30%. Moreover, it’s a record year so far for Bay Area- and New York City-based VCs investing outside the Bay/NYC/Boston, with $24 billion deployed in 2021 YTD, versus just $4 billion a decade ago.

Their “Beyond Silicon Valley” report also found what may be the most promising trend of all: more than 3,000 active investors outside the Bay/NYC/Boston, up from 1,000 in 2011. “This includes more than 1,400 new institutional VC firms launched outside of the Bay/NYC/Boston — these new firms are more likely to invest in local/regional startups, creating new sources of local capital and insight across the country,” the report states.

Intentionally excluding Austin, Seattle, Chicago and L.A. from their exercise because those areas already have demonstrated critical mass of startup and VC momentum, the Rise of the Rest report then offers snapshots of why 12 other metro areas are on the rise: Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham (though those two are formally in separate MSAs now), Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Washington, D.C. Why are those areas thriving? When they spoke to leaders in those 12 cities, “the reasons vary, but some common denominators emerge,” the report explains. “Tech talent has spread everywhere following COVID-19; livability is crucial; culture matters; local corporations are helping; sector expertise is increasingly important; and universities are initiating a new era of entrepreneurship education.”

I examined those 12 hand-picked cities, the four excluded cities with sufficient critical mass and the four metros in the VC capitals of the Bay Area, New York City and Boston against the prism of Site Selection’s most recently published Top Metros rankings for corporate facility attraction and Mac Conway Award winners, which factor in capital investment, job creation and per-capita statistics. I found only seven of the report’s 20 cities among the Top Metros, and only three among the Mac Conway Award winners. What that tells you is this: Look to the report’s longer charts and Site Selection’s metro-area rankings for overlapping clues to the next hot markets for VC and innovation. — Adam Bruns

Top 20 Metro Areas by Seed- and Early-Stage VC dollars in Rounds with Bay Area Investor Participation (2011–2021*)
Los Angeles $24.2B
Seattle $5.8B
Austin $4.2B
Washington, D.C. $3.2B
Denver $3.1B
Chicago $3.0B
Philadelphia $2.9B
Dallas $2.9B
Atlanta $2.3B
Miami $1.9B
Salt Lake City $1.6B
Minneapolis $1.3B
Raleigh $1.0B
Portland $852M
Phoenix $637M
Detroit $597M
Houston $572M
Orlando $435M
Columbus $432M
Sacramento $427M
Source: PitchBook and Revolution: Rise of the Rest; *As of September 1, 2021; excludes startups in the Bay Area, New York, and Boston






International Drive

Georgia Global Commerce drives FDI across the state.

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From the September Issue


Georgia Startups Are Geared Up for Growth

Measured by VC deals, Georgia is almost Top 10. As for top-performing firms, Georgia’s already arrived.

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Site of the Week
From the January Issue

The environmental reasons for switching to electric vehicles (EVs) are well known. But converting to EVs also makes great business sense. As a leader in the EV space, SRP has spent several years piloting EV technology and incentive programs for business customers. Many of these programs have helped offset the costs of installing EV charging stations and even helped businesses convert entire fleets to EVs in some cases. The boost to these businesses’ bottom line is clear. In a 2020 study conducted by SRP, nearly 40% of EV drivers reported that charging costs were lower than expected.

SRP also announced it is a founding member of the Transportation Electrification Activator, a cross-industry initiative to advance electric transportation by improving EV infrastructure and adoption in Arizona. For businesses looking to forge a path of growth and success on the back of electric transportation, all roads lead to the Phoenix metropolitan area.


The new Proterra EV battery factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, joins the company’s other Upstate facility (pictured) in nearby Greenville.
Photo courtesy of Proterra

The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round, and what goes around comes around. Combine those two and you get the latest news from Proterra, the developer and manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles (primarily buses), which this week announced a new $76 million, 200-job EV battery factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to satisfy rising demand for its vehicles. Six years ago we published this story about the company’s pull from the Palmetto State (where we first documented its arrival in 2010) toward California because of policy and customer proximity. Now those policies and customers have proliferated everywhere, including back in South Carolina.

“With our company’s history in South Carolina and the Upstate region,” said Gareth Joyce, president of Proterra, “we are excited to build on our strong partnership with the state of South Carolina, Spartanburg County, and the City of Greer and bring EV battery system manufacturing to the region.”

Tragically, the company’s co-founder former CEO, former Tesla finance director and former Kleiner Perkins partner Ryan Popple, 44, passed away this week, just days after he stepped down from the board as the company announced a leadership succession plan. “When I joined Proterra in 2014 as CEO, we believed that public transit would be the first commercial vehicle segment to electrify and that the transit market would be a catalyst for transportation electrification,” he stated last week when that plan was announced. “Today, we have transformed that vision into a public company with three business platforms that serve over 130 customers and have helped save carbon emissions over 20 million service miles.”

“Ryan embodied entrepreneurial spirit and devoted his life to creating a better future,” the company said in a statement. “Above all, Ryan was a husband, father, and friend. We mourn with his family.”




Betting on the Blue Economy

For maritime innovation, Washington State leads the way.

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From the September Issue


Washington by the Numbers

An infographic glance at top projects, workforce insights, rankings and education data.

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The LEGO Group last week signed an MOU with Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park Joint Venture Company Limited (VSIP) to build a new $1 billion factory, which it says will be the company’s first carbon neutral factory and will include investments in solar energy generation. The project on a 44-hectare (109-acre) site in the Binh Duong Province around 50 km. (31 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City will create up to 4,000 jobs over the next 15 years. Production is due to start during 2024 at the LEGO Group’s sixth manufacturing site and second in Asia. “We are very grateful for the support of the Vietnamese government in helping us achieve our ambition to build our first carbon neutral factory,” said COO Carsten Rasmussen. “Their plans to invest in expanding renewable energy production infrastructure and a collaborative approach to working with foreign companies who are seeking to make high quality investments were among the factors in our decision to build here.”

Source: Conway Analytics

New Jersey

ICS Corporation last week announced a significant expansion of its operations in Gloucester County, New Jersey, with the signing of a lease for additional manufacturing and distribution space in Logan Township, where it will hire as many as 500 permanent, full-time employees for printing and direct mail fulfillment positions. Positions within ICS's print, lettershop and distribution departments are available immediately, and offer highly competitive wages and benefits. “These are not seasonal or cyclical positions,” said Brianna Park, recruiter at ICS. “These are permanent, full-time positions across all shifts, offering 40 hours per week which can include opportunities for four-day work weeks.” The expansion also will create job opportunities in most front office departments, including Accounting, Customer Service, Quality Control, Purchasing, IT and Programming. Founded in 1965 in Philadelphia, ICS Corporation is a full-service direct mail print, production and distribution business. ICS moved its primary offices and production facilities to West Deptford, New Jersey, in 2017, added an inventory building in 2020 and has now added an additional 191,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing and distribution space.

Source: Conway Analytics


Photo courtesy of LEGO Group

Squint and you’ll see LEGO bricks. This is an aerial of the company’s only other Asian manufacturing site from the day it opened in November 2016 in Jiaxing, China, employing 1,200. LEGO Group’s Vietnam factory highlighted above will employ more than three times that number.