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Middle Bit: Milwaukee needs startups, Equifax is sued by the city of Chicago

As southeastern Wisconsin prepares for the construction of high-tech manufacturing complex Foxconn Technology Group, a new study shows the area has a skilled workforce but lacks in startups and venture capital among other areas tied to economic innovation.

According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Thursday, the study compares metro Milwaukee— defined as Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties—with ten other midsize metropolitan areas including Kansas City and Minneapolis.

Milwaukee’s shortcomings significantly outnumber the positive findings in the study. The area has a sluggish rate of business formation. Since 2006, Milwaukee has ranked second or third to last in startup activity among the ten cities in the study.

The results were presented Thursday at a luncheon with leaders from the public and private sector participating in a discussion.

The study was done by the Public Policy Forum, a 104-year-old nonpartisan research organization.

Chicago sues Equifax

The city of Chicago has sued Equifax seeking restitution for more than a million Chicagoans whose sensitive data might have been stolen as part of the widespread breach, according to a story Thursday in the Chicago Tribune.

According to the story, the lawsuit was filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court and alleges Equifax violated the city’s consumer fraud ordinance and state laws.

The story says Equifax did a poor job of protecting sensitive data from hackers and by not alerting the public more quickly when the break was discovered.

More than a million Chicagoans might have been victimized.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the Atlanta-based company Equifax, which has said 143 million consumers might have been affected during a data breach from mid-May through July.

San Francisco and Massachusetts filed suit earlier this month. Construction could begin as early as next year.

CenturyLink debuts “Price for Life” in Denver

CenturyLink rolled out its “Price for Life” service in Denver on Wednesday that promises to never raise the price of internet plans if a customer sticks with the same plan and doesn’t change a home address, according to a story Wednesday in the Denver Post.

According to the story, this includes 1 gigabit-per-second speeds, which is $85 a month. In Colorado, nearly 700,000 homes and business users can access the top speed.

Price for Life is part of a move to simplify rates so customers aren’t guessing how much internet costs.

What else happened…


Your dog is big business – Denver Post


Caterpillar CEO’s plan is starting to pay off – Chicago Tribune


Des Moines International Airport lands direct flight to San Francisco – The Des Moines Register

T-Mobile aquires iWireless – The Gazette


Battling bias, women entrepreneurs cash in with fake male partner –

Target will pay all workers $15 by 2020 –


BioGenerator wins $300,000 federal grant – St. Louis Post Dispatch

Digital Sandbox adds two startups to Independence program –

Food delivery service UberEATS launches in Kansas City –


Amazon to build second distribution center near Cleveland – The Columbus Dispatch


State board to consider $3 billion for Foxconn – Journal Sentinel

Momentum Art Tech: Murals, spray paint and a business plan – Wisconsin State Journal 

Middle Bit: Milwaukee needs startups, Equifax is sued by the city of Chicago | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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