Middle Bit: Illinois STEM projects receive $2.6 million in STEM grants; Minnesota Venture Center launches 18 startups

CME Group Foundation—of Chicago-based CME Group—announced grants totaling $2.6 million to fourteen Illinois organizations in support of STEM (Science, technology, engineering and Math) education initiatives, according to a story Monday in the Philanthropy News Digest.

Eight of the grants went to projects focusing on early math education; four are advancing computer science learning and two are using technology to personalize learning for students, according to the release.

According to the story Monday, LEAP Innovations received $1 million for its work on next-generation thinking in the classroom and Vision 20/20, who received $25,000 to support its 21st Century Learning Center.

The Northwestern University/Digital Youth Network received $125,000 to evaluate computer science programs for Chicago youth.

A full breakdown of the donation can be found here.

University of Minnesota Venture Center launches 18 startups

The University of Minnesota announced Tuesday that it launched 18 startup companies over the past year based on discoveries and inventions by its researchers, according to a release from the University of Minnesota.

According to the story, launching companies through the Office for Technology Commercialization’s Venture Center is one of the primary ways the University of Minnesota brings cutting-edge research from the lab to the marketplace.

Of the 18 startups, 16 are based in Minnesota; The release said the 18 startups is a record for a fiscal year.

A complete list of the startups can be found here. The Venture Center has helped launch 119 startups since 2006.

Indiana has an online butcher shop

In a response to locals wanting organic meat, an Indiana startup introduced an online butcher shop, according to a story on Forbes.com.

The story says Tyner Pond Farm buys pasture-raised, antibiotic and hormone-free cattle, pigs and poultry from a network of regional farms, then processes and sells the meat to wholesalers and individual consumers in 18 central Indiana counties.

Consumers can buy their meat through an e-commerce platform and get free delivery to their doorstep.

What else happened…


Internet TV service Sling TV loses its CEO to Pandora – The Denver Post

Kansas City’s Red Nova Labs opens engineering office in Denver – SPN


Photos: Hy-Vee Inc.’s new Helpful Smiles Technology Center includes a replica of the show, “Big Bang Theory” – The Des Moines Register

Jethros BBQ expands to Ames – The Des Moines Register

28 Iowa companies make Inc.’s list of fasted growing firms – Business Record

Iowa City company iotaMotion raises $2 million – Businessinsider.com


GeoTix—a provider of SaaS solutions that generate non-advertising revenue streams for media companies—raised $1 million in funding from Boomerang-Catapult and Casey Cowell – Marketwired.com


Target acquires delivery technology firm – Star Tribune


Active Capital—a St. Louis based venture capital firm—raised more than $13 million for its debut fund, according to an SEC filing. The fund’s target is $20 million.

EyeVerify rolls out new platform, company name – bizjournal.com


Nationwide commits more than $100 million to the next generation of insurance and financial services – Prnewswire.com

3Bar Biologics—a Columbus, Ohio based—provider of a beneficial microbe delivery system, raised $2 million in funding.