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Midwest Funding Report: Sun King Closes $260M

The Funding Roundup is a weekly note about companies that raised venture capital.  We use four sources – 1) those that are sent to us via press release (, 2) Form D filings in the sixteen states that we cover, 3) Databases to which we subscribe (particularly Pitchbook, Crunchbase), 4) Other sources (such as SBIR grant database).  The goal of the funding roundup is to provide a quick synthesis of companies that are aTctively raising money.  This is not a value judgment placing VC backed companies over bootstrapped – only a recognition that VC backed companies often file paperwork that puts them on our radar. 

Overall, this was a strong week in the Middle.  Sun King, a renewable energy manufacturing company, raised a very large round.  The company, out of Chicago, was formerly known as Greenlight Planet.  It creates solar energy using off-grid photovoltaic receptors that is used around the world in places that lack energy grids.  A surprisingly big round came out of Grand Forks, North Dakota – this week.  Sharper Shape is a drone company that had its origins in Silicon Valley – but as part of the growing drone industry in North Dakota, the company redomesticated there.  These rounds were part of a nice variety of industries that received large deals last week.  Minneapolis and Chicago continue to be the leading communities for these types of deals in the Midwest.  But, smaller places, such as Madison (which has seen its fortunes return in the last six weeks), also participate in significant rounds. 

Over the last couple of years, many have decried that failure of the Midwest to produce as many startups or as much venture capital as the coasts.  This remains true, but the amount of money that is being deployed in the region has dramatically increased over the last decade.  In addition, news publications (like this one) are now keeping track of those fundings more accurately – so data is catching up with activity.

Large Deals ($10m Plus)
Sun King$260ChicagoIllinois
Relievent Med Systems$69.70MinneapolisMinnesota
Medical 21$40MinneapolisMinnesota
CoverCress$26Creve CoeurMissouri
Adranos Energetics$20.00LafayetteIndiana
OneroRX$20West Des MoinesIowa
i-Lumen Scientific$18.03BloomingtonMinnesota
Sharper Shape$16.90Grand ForksNorth Dakota
Network Perception$13ChicagoIllinois

Series A ($2-10m)
Advanced Ionis$4.20MilwaukeeWisconsin
Psudo$3.00Saint LouisMissouri
S.I. Container Builds$2.84Highland ParkIllinois
Gravy$3Saint CharlesMissouri
Rare Earth Technologies$2.00CincinnatiOhio

Early Stage Deals ($500k – $2m)
Team Central$1.50DaytonOhio
The Bee Corp$1.27IndianapolisIndiana

Seed Stage Deals (up to $500k)
American Provenance$0.36Mount HorebWisconsin
Oncodea$0.28Saint PaulMinnesota
Thynk Health$0.22LexingtonKentucky
WayLit$0.18Saint LouisMissouri
Project Content$0.18WichitaKansas
Even Score$0.10DetroitMichigan
SciTech Development$0.10Gross Pointe FarmsMichigan
Shopping OS$0.10DelawareOhio
Tessellated$0.02South BendIndiana

Running Totals for Deals Per State and MSA (Updated Apr 24)

This section is specifically requested frequently by policy makers.  The last column is intended to provide a benchmark for communities trying to compare themselves to the other communities by size.  The average for all states in the Middle is 1.6.  Smaller than that number generally means that a community is above a linear trend line, although the MUG staff believes that there is an exponential curve associated with larger communities having a higher expected deal per person number.

MSANumber of DealsAmount of Dollars Dollars per DealPeople per Deal (x 100,000)
Chicago124$ 2,028.9016.40.8
Minneapolis65$ 922.4514.20.6
Cincinnati15$ 473.3931.61.5
Columbus31$ 337.8010.90.7
Madison14$ 258.2618.40.5
Kansas City17$ 215.2712.71.3
Canton1$ 204.00204.04.0
Ann Arbor10$ 176.0517.60.4
Detroit24$ 173.807.21.8
Indianapolis37$ 154.804.20.6
Fayetteville AR10$ 142.5314.30.5
Cleveland22$ 126.385.70.9
Peoria2$ 120.3460.22.0
Oklahoma City4$ 118.8529.73.6
St. Louis15$ 114.337.61.9
Omaha4$ 94.0023.52.4
Lafayette IN5$ 57.0211.40.4
Pine Bluff1$ 56.5156.50.9
Rural21$ 44.302.10.0
Milwaukee16$ 42.992.71.0
Louisville13$ 38.643.01.1
Fargo3$ 31.2510.40.8
South Bend3$ 26.708.91.1
Des Moines5$
Springfield MO1$ 20.0020.04.8
Akron5$ 17.663.51.4
Grand Rapids10$
Ames1$ 7.807.81.3
Little Rock4$ 7.651.91.9
Champaign4$ 5.731.40.6
Topeka3$ 3.811.30.8
Cedar Rapids2$ 3.741.91.4
Toledo1$ 3.633.66.5
Green Bay3$
Sioux Falls1$ 1.811.82.8
Lansing2$ 1.580.82.7
Lexington KY2$
Iowa City2$
Grand Forks1$ 0.770.81.0
Bloomington IN1$
StateNumber of DealsAmount of Dollars Dollars per DealPeople per Deal (x 100,000)
Arkansas16$  211.9113.21.9
Illinois130$ 2,153.1816.61.0
Indiana 55$ 261.374.81.2
Iowa  13$ 40.653.12.5
Kansas  12$ 194.6116.22.4
Kentucky16$ 31.862.02.8
Michigan54$ 379.657.01.9
Minnesota66$ 923.5214.00.9
Nebraska8$ 115.0314.42.5
North Dakota4$
Ohio78$ 1,132.5814.51.5
Oklahoma  4$ 118.8529.79.9
South Dakota1$ 1.811.88.9
Wisconsin36$ 309.438.61.6

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