The Middle Bit: Week of March 26

Each week, Clay & Milk will curate a rundown of startup, tech and innovation news from “the middle.” Check back every Friday for that week’s Middle Bit.



University of Illinois biotech startup, InnSight Technology, has received a $750,000 grant to help develop its handheld device that can quickly detect severe eye injuries. The News-Gazette

Navya, a Lyon, France-based startup that makes fully electric and autonomous shuttles, announced today that it is opening its first US office in Chicago. ChicagoInno


Six locations in Iowa will host local competitions for the Small Business Administration InnovateHER Challenge. NewBoCo

IAM AGTECH, a photonics and laser optics technology startup firm founded in Ottumwa Iowa, is the newest occupant of the Regional Entrepreneur Center (REC). Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation

Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa (RRIA), a statewide economic development initiative done in partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa, Iowa Agriculture Finance Corp., and CIPCO, has teamed up with the Ag Startup Engine (ASE) at the Iowa State University (ISU) Research Park to bring education, mentoring, and financing resources to young Iowa entrepreneurs. Iowa Farm Bureau


Twin Cities tech executives form new company, buy Cypress chip plant in Bloomington. Star Tribune

Minnesota hospitality engagement software startup Kipsu raises $900kTechMN


St. Louis-based Benson Hill Biosystems announced the close of a Series B funding round at $25 million. Silicon Prairie News

Nile Valley Aquaponics, a sustainable greenhouse with the aim to empower one of Kansas City’s most underserved communities, launched on Friday after two years of raising funds. Startland News


Now in its sixth year, Startup Weekend Madison runs Friday, April 7 through Sunday, April 9 and is held at Madison’s University Research Park. In Wisconsin

Promentis Pharmaceuticals Inc, a Milwaukee company that is developing drugs to treat schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, has raised an additional $17.2 million from investors, bringing the total in its third round of financing to $26 million. The company was an outgrowth of research done by Marquette University and has a licensing agreement with Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel