What are the forces moving the Minnesota economy? Adam Belz tries to identify the trends and show the connections between Minnesota and the larger U.S. and global economies. You can connect with him on Twitter: @adambelz

Posts about Business trends

Funding for young life science firms in Minnesota rises in second quarter

Posted by: Adam Belz Updated: July 16, 2014 - 2:56 PM

The folks at LifeScience Alley have embarked on an admirable project, trying to quantify the amount of investment in health and medical device companies Minnesota each quarter.
Their data for the second quarter of 2014 shows that investment in diagnostics, medical device, health IT, pharmaceuticals and other healthcare firms rose 65 percent compared to a year earlier, and 46 percent compared to the first quarter. That includes venture capital, angel funding and investment in small firms by large companies. 

More than half of the 34 companies raising money are in non-medical device industries, but medical device firms accounted for the lion’s share of the dollars.

The medical device numbers were driven by major deals at Plymouth-based Holaira, which raised $42 million to pave the way for a European clinical trial of the company’s catheter-based system to treat obstructive lung disease, and Maple Grove-based Inspire Medical, which raised $40 million to commercialize its sleep apnea therapy.

However, 71 percent of the deals in the second quarter were under $1 million, according to LifeScience Alley.

Fast-growing St. Paul firm ThisCLICKS bags marketing VP from Silicon Valley

Posted by: Adam Belz Updated: July 16, 2014 - 1:29 PM

ThisCLICKS, a company with about 30 employees in St. Paul, has hired a new VP of marketing out of Silicon Valley.

The firm, which sells user-friendly software that allows small businesses to manage scheduling and payroll, has grown revenue by double digits month-over-month for the past 18 months, CEO Chad Halvorson said. 

The company's software is used by more than 5,000 companies representing more than 250,000 employees worldwide — including the Atlanta Braves, SoundCloud, the Columbus Zoo and UPS Store. In January, thisCLICKS received $4 million in funding from its first outside investors.

It also moved into new offices in the Drake Building across the river from downtown St. Paul. At an event in June, Mayor Chris Coleman looked on while CEO Chad Halvorson crushed an old-fashioned time clock with a sledge hammer on the patio outside the building.

The company is part of a small but growing group of technology companies in St. Paul that are hiring, a group that includes GovDelivery.

The new VP of marketing will be Sujan Patel, who helped lead strategy for companies like TurboTax, SlideShare and Salesforce. He joins thisClicks from San Francisco-based startup Bridge US.

“What we’re building in Minnesota is an incredible company that solves a huge business problem for a commonly overlooked market. Great ideas and great execution can happen anywhere — not just on the coasts,” said Chad Halvorson, CEO of thisCLICKS, in a statement. “Sujan is a great combination. He’s deeply skilled in marketing and committed to our vision — as anyone who enthusiastically leaves sunny California for Minnesota winters would have to be."

Opening Belz, July 16

Posted by: Adam Belz Updated: July 16, 2014 - 10:03 AM

Fed’s Yellen opens door to rate hike – WSJ
3M pays $885 million to buy out Japanese partner – StarTribune
Chicago investors flock to Madison startups – Journal Sentinel
Minnesota sweats road projects tied to federal funds – StarTribune
The decline of an American furniture maker – New Yorker
Germany’s mid-sized manufacturers start to get some celebrity – Economist
Illinois company to move 475 employees to Wisconsin – Milwaukee Business Journal
Desperate-sounding Comcast rep hassles customer for long time – StarTribune
140 Google interview questions – Impact Interview
How Germany and SAP used data to play better soccer – WSJ

Opening Belz, July 15

Posted by: Adam Belz Updated: July 15, 2014 - 8:56 AM

Chicago union boss weighs high-profile challenge of Emanuel for mayor – Sun-Times
New mining partner joins search for copper near Tamarack (MN) – Duluth News Tribune
Profile of Scott Honour, the GOP gubernatorial candidate – StarTribune
Is Milwaukee really the No. 1 city for tech? Uh, no – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Duluth sales tax hike coming down the pike – Duluth News Tribune
Makerbot to sell 3-D printers at Home Depot – StarTribune
North Moorhead opposes Churches United complex for the homeless – Fargo Forum
Distinction between legal, illegal pot getting hazy in Colorado – Denver Post
Insider piece on the lingering rifts between PIMCO and Bill Gross – WSJ
More U.S. drug firms seeking inversion to escape taxes (like Medtronic) – NY Times
St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie approve SW light rail, Minneapolis next – StarTribune

Opening Belz, July 14

Posted by: Adam Belz Updated: July 14, 2014 - 9:50 AM

Trying to stay hip, Mall of America ditches ‘90s look – StarTribune
40 crude oil trains per week roll through Chicago – Chicago Tribune
Digi-Key’s Fargo expansion continues to grow – Fargo Forum
Commuting from urban core to the suburbs is not so easy – StarTribune
Obama contends with global instability not seen since 1970s – WSJ
Canadian share of U.S. imports is mysteriously shrinking – WSJ
Construction firm merger creates largest public company in LA – LA Times
In Canada, a central banker relies on human beings to understand economy – WSJ
Shrinking viewership numbers for the MLB All-Star game – Sports Illustrated


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