Middle Bit: Fly-Over fund will bring $150M in new investments to the Midwest

The Rise of the Rest fund announced its investors Monday that will work to create a network for entrepreneurs in the middle of the country to align with the biggest names in business, according to a story in The New York Times.

According to The Times, the fund—which is led by Steve Case and J.D Vance—has a, “Who’s Who” from American businesses.

The names include:

  • Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
  • Eric Schmidt, chairm of Google’s parent Alphabet
  • Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks
  • The Waltons
  • The Kochs
  • The Pritzkers
  • Sean Parker, former president of Facebook

Vance told The Times the fund was meant to construct an ecosystem like the one in Silicon Valley that will provide support and connections to entrepreneurs in small towns.

Ford shifting electric car production to Mexico

Ford is shifting production of an all-electric vehicle to Mexico and create 850 jobs to work on an autonomous car in Flat Rock, Mich., according to a story Thursday in the Detroit Free Press.

Ford wants to sell the self-driving car to delivery fleets beginning in 2021, according to the story.

Jim Farley—president of Global Markets for Ford—was quoted in the story saying this shows the start of, “The foundation of Ford’s bet on AV’s (autonomous-drive vehicles). We’re very excited about what we are doing.”

The story says Ford plans to produce 4,500 autonomous vehicles annually after 2021 in Michigan and for about 25,000 electric vehicles a year in Mexico.

Ecolab acquisitions expand well beyond Minnesota

Ecolab, the maker of cleaning, sanitizing and filtration chemicals announced four acquisitions Wednesday to expand its pest-elimination and food-safety business, according to the StarTribune.

According to the story, Ecolab did not disclose the costs but said they were significant because they broaden Ecolab’s services and geographic reach. The St. Paul-based company is known for its products and services that help restaurants, hotels and hospitals.

The four companies Ecolab acquired are:

  • Arpal Group, which has offices in the United Kingdom and Middle East
  • Food Protection Services, which operates in the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes and Mississippi Delta
  • Royal Pest Solutions, based in Delaware
  • Research Fumigation Company, based in Louisiana

Ecolab generated $13.2 billion in 2016 revenue, according to the StarTribune.

What else happened…


Denver’s DaVita selling its physician network for $4.9 billion – The Denver Post

Do more votes for municipal broadband networks mean instant internet access? – The Denver Post

What happens once net neutrality rules bite the dust? – The Denver Post


The Edgewater Funds—a Chicago-based private equity firm—closed its fourth growth fund, at over $1 billion – Finsmes.com


Tesla wins legal battle over Missouri licenses to sell cars – STLtoday.com

KCMO, Avis, launch first-in-the-world test lab with 5,000 connected rental cars – StartlandNews.com

StartlandNews made in KC 2017 Gift Guide – StartlandNews.com

Missouri close to licensing sports fantasy websites under new law – STLtoday.com


Area businesses pitch their services and get operating money in return – The Daily Nonpareil


Pacejet—a Columbus-based cloud enterprise business shipping software platform—closed a new multi-million dollar funding – Finsmes.com


Madison-based insurtech startup SafetyNet launches new insurance program – SPN

Johnson Controls approves $1 billion increase in share repurchase authorization – Jsonline.com

Who becomes an inventor in America? Wisconsin kids – Jsonline.com