The Middle Bit: Week of April 9

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.


YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen invests in Midwest roots with $1M innovation hub. ChicagoInno

Representatives from Google, IBM Watson, Microsoft and some of Chicago’s top investment firms will be among the speakers at the first Chicago Machine Learning Venture Capital Summit held April 19. Chicago Tribune

Popular Pays, the Chicago-based startup which connects brands with social media influencers who create content about their products, announced on Monday it has raised $5.2 million in Series A funding. built in Chicago


Insurance and technology leaders from around the globe will gather in Des Moines, Iowa, for the 2017 Global Insurance Symposium, April 25-27, exploring artificial intelligence, blockchain, autonomous vehicles and more. PR Newswire

Twenty Iowa economists from seven colleges and universities signed a New American Economy letter to President Trump, emphasizing the importance of immigration for economic development. Business Record

The U.S. Small Business Administration backed $6.8 million in private loans to Central Iowa businesses in March — more than double the amount it supported in February. Business Record


Prevent Biometrics has raised $3.8m of a $7m equity round for a smarter mouthguard. The company allows parents, coaches and trainers to monitor athletes in real time on the field of play. TechMN

Sansoro Health, a pioneer in data integration for health care, announced that it has closed $5.2 million in Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. TechMN

Rochester Startup Vyriad, one of the earliest adapters of Mayo Clinic’s push to encourage local entrepreneurship among bio-researchers, is graduating from the clinic’s biz incubator, with singing of lease for ex-IBM Building. Twin Cities Business