We're aboard the plane heading for Chicago and Start-Up Nation 2012. That means we already feel pressed for time as our too-packed schedule gets even tighter. Covering so many places in a week, we can only hope to introduce you to these cities and maybe provide some comparative insight into the competitive and collaborative conditions across the Great Lakes region.
We have a detailed plan now. For the next 36 hours, we'll be in Chicago, checking on the post-Groupon-IPO scene. We'll be visiting several local startup spaces and meeting with fascinating startups like ODLCO and FoodGenius, which picked up a round of funding last week.
Then, we're off to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a tour through the former furniture manufacturing capital of the country. Now, there's a $15 million fund called StartGarden that's giving away seed funding to two new ideas each week, one chosen by the investment team and the other chosen by the crowd.
Next up will be the college towns of Lansing (Go Spartans!) and Ann Arbor (Go Big Blue!). We've been shocked by the depth of support both towns are providing to local entrepreneurs trying to keep them in town. In Ann Arbor, we'll visit a now-closed Pfizer plant that's been converted in a biotech startup hub, among other things.