Missouri Minute: Ascension acquires Michigan hospital network; KC startup funding surges

Good morning, MBA readers,

It’s been a big year for Kansas City startups, which nearly doubled the amount of funds they raised, according to a new report. Meanwhile, Ascension is expanding its footprint in Michigan with the acquisition of a hospital system. Plus, count a stuffed-bear retailer among the local companies bracing for the effects of Brexit. Before you unplug for the long weekend, read up on the top business news from across Missouri.

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Ascension acquires Michigan hospital network
St. Louis-based Ascension has agreed to acquire Michigan-based Allegan Healthcare Group, effective Sept. 1. Allegan hospitals will adapt Ascension’s brand and identity as part of the nonprofit’s Michigan network. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Feds raid UAW president’s home, Missouri office
The FBI on Wednesday searched a number of properties linked to United Auto Workers President Gary Jones as part of a corruption probe. Jones, who has not been charged with a crime, previously served as a regional director for the UAW in Kansas City. (Reuters)

Cultivation Capital tech fund tops $70 million
St. Louis venture capital firm Cultivation Capital has raised another $48.7 million for its Cultivation Capital Tech Fund III, bringing the fund’s total amount raised to over $74 million. It includes 89 investors. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Build-A-Bear shares drop to record low amid Brexit concerns
Overland-based Build-A-Bear’s stock fell more than 11% Thursday to a record low of $2.85 a share. The company cut its 2019 sales outlook over concerns about a weakening pound and the U.K.’s looming exit from the European Union. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Missouri marijuana trade group launches training for doctors
The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association has launched a free training session to educate health care professionals about the use of medical marijuana as a treatment option. The formally accredited program follows American Medical Association’s standards. (Springfield News-Leader)

UMKC pays six figures to settle professor’s lawsuits
The University of Missouri-Kansas City will pay $360,000 to associate professor of pharmacy Mirdul Murkherji to settle two lawsuits alleging employment discrimination and workplace harassment. The settlement comes just two weeks ahead of a trial scheduled in Jackson County. (Kansas City Star)

Platte County hires new economic development chief
The Platte County Economic Development Council announced that it hired Matthew Tapp as its new executive director. Tapp previously served as economic development director in Raymore and director of planning and zoning for Clay County. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Go figure

That’s how much venture backing of Kansas City startups has grown — to roughly $908 million so far in 2019 from about $479 million over the same period last year, Startland News reports. A big chunk of that growth is driven by C2FO and PayIt, which raised nearly $300 million and over $135 million this year, respectively. Investments in smaller startups have jumped 81% year-over-year to almost $481 million in 2019.

Hello, my name is

Dondi Dix

The Lockton Companies, a Kansas City-based insurer, has hired Dix as its first chief people officer, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Dix, a former U.S. Army captain, was most recently vice president of human resources at the Dairy Farmers of America and served as chief of staff to the COO at Sprint. She will work with Pam Popp, Lockton’s chief inclusion officer.

Say that again

“If we have a big ego, we can’t listen to other people and that’s what gets us in trouble.”

That’s serial entrepreneur Jene Hong’s advice to startup founders, Startland News reports. Hong, who serves an Entrepreneurship Scholars mentor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, says founders should “just let it go and listen” and embrace the experience and mentorship of other entrepreneurs.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning. Have a great Labor Day weekend.


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