Hello, MBA readers,
Once again, Missouri’s top attorney is squaring off with Google. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt was among dozens of state attorneys general to file a lawsuit against Google this week. The suit alleges that the California-based tech giant has used illegal methods to shut out competitors and garner a monopoly over the app sales market through its Google Play store. The suit falls in line with several others that have accused Big Tech of ignoring antitrust laws to squash competitors. Schmitt’s predecessor as Missouri attorney general, Sen. Josh Hawley, also targeted Google during his stint in Jefferson City. In pandemic news, as the federal government sends reinforcements to southwest Missouri to help handle growing COVID-19 case numbers, Gov. Mike Parson has warned federal employees not to go door-to-door encouraging vaccination. That message from Parson came after President Joe Biden mentioned a door-to-door strategy as the country’s vaccination numbers flatline. Also leveling off in recent weeks are initial unemployment claims. Nationally, the 373,000 claims reported Thursday were consistent with recent levels but still above historical norms. In Missouri, weekly claims have been below 4,000 for the last three weeks.
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Speaking Startup: Plush pandemic picnics ‘for the Gram’
Many businesses have been hit hard by the cancellation of events as a result of COVID-19. But in the face of diminished demand for some events, other options have … popped up. Pop-up picnics have been one area of the event industry to thrive. These plush picnics often involve high-end dinnerware, custom table settings, themed decor and gourmet catering. And they have caught fire recently on social media. In the latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast, we hear from Missouri entrepreneurs who started pop-up picnic businesses over the last year about why the trend has gained traction and what the future holds.
National, state unemployment claims hold steady
U.S. unemployment claims for the week ended July 3 rose by less than 1% from the week before, to 373,000. That’s the second-lowest number of claims since March 2020, but it’s high by historical standards. Missouri saw about 3,900 claims, marking its third straight week under 4,000. (CNBC)
New BBQ festival to debut in KC
Founded by St. Louis native Brian Wahby, the inaugural Kansas City BBQ Festival will take place Friday through Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. (WDAF)
Kansas City Southern sets date for vote on sale
Shareholders of the Kansas City-based railroad company will vote Aug. 17 on a proposed sale to Canadian National Railway for an enterprise value of $33.6 billion. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Daupler secures $4 million in funding round
The Kansas City-area startup, which makes software designed to help cities respond to public works issues, raised $4 million in a round led by Burnt Island Ventures. Daupler plans to use the funds for product development and “hiring like crazy.” (Startland News)
Job openings in the U.S. reached more than 9.2 million at the end of May, the third month in a row to produce a record-breaking number of openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite Missouri and other states cutting supplemental federal unemployment aid, the unprecedented level of job openings suggests that the market is still in job seekers’ favor.
Say that again
“Big tech companies like Google have leveraged their massive, dominant market position to stymie smaller companies and drive out competition, all while lining their own pockets to the tune of billions.”
That’s part of a statement issued Thursday by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is one among dozens of state attorneys general to file a lawsuit against Google. The landmark suit filed late Wednesday alleges that the technology giant violated antitrust laws and engaged in anticompetitive actions, the Associated Press reports. The lawsuit claims that Google’s course of action has unlawfully shut out competitors and created an illegal monopoly in the market of mobile app sales.
I have directed our health department to let the federal government know that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would NOT be an effective OR a welcome strategy in Missouri!
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) July 8, 2021
At Missouri’s request, the federal government has arrived in Springfield to help manage the spike of COVID-19 cases in the region. Gov. Mike Parson was quick to assert that federal officials are not welcome to go door-to-door to encourage vaccination, a statement likely in response to remarks made by President Joe Biden Tuesday about a door-to-door approach, The Kansas City Star reports. In the same thread, Parson emphasized a commitment to making the vaccine available to those who want it and pointed out that he and his wife both received the vaccine.
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The southwest Missouri startup is one of four companies selected for the accelerator program run by the efactory, a Springfield-based business development center affiliated with Missouri State University. AgButler is a gig economy app designed to connect farmers with the labor they need. AgButler and the other three companies selected to the efactory accelerator program receive a $30,000 investment as well as discounted business tools, mentorship and other perks in exchange for 8% equity.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning. Have a wonderful weekend.