Porch Time

It is where we want to sit.

So yes, technically every company with more than 100 employees has to have employees vaccinated or tested, which puts a damper on our fun little Be-A-Person-Watch 2021 (TM). Still we’re going to give a shoutout to the Chicago Transit Authority for requiring vaccines — even though they should have been the FIRST ones. That little plastic barrier on the bus does nothing. It’s kind of like celebrating Walgreens for promising to raise its minimum pay to $15 an hour everywhere by November 2022. 

While workers are only getting a late cost-of-living adjustment, big money can’t move fast enough between businesses. Medical device company Baxter — based in Deerfield — is in talks to buy medical device company Hillrom — based in Chicago — for $10.5 billion. Did you all know there was a lot of money to be made in the U.S. healthcare system?

There’s always money in logistics: today, $1.3 billion in a private equity buyout offer for Echo Global. PE firm Jordan Capital is buying Echo, which matches shippers with truckers, and is incorporating it into its broader portfolio of logistics companies a.k.a. looking for synergies a.k.a. finding ways to lay people off and operate at scale.

So we’ve got companies profiting wildly off of selling medical devices and acting as go-betweens, let’s throw in consumer data to round it out. TransUnion, one of the big three credit bureaus that decide who is “responsible” enough for debt, is planning to buy Neustar, a data modeling company that helps businesses find and advertise to customers, for $3.1 billion. It’s good news for Chicago-based TransUnion, we suppose — that horde of personal financial data becomes a lot more valuable if you can use it for targeted ads. But it’s pretty creepy news for the rest of us, who aren’t necessarily looking to hear about life insurance policies that will pay off our student debt.  

Vanqua Bio, a biotech startup pursuing new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, has raised another $85 million. It’s now raised more than $100 million in funding since spinning out of Northwestern’s medical school. 

Copado, which moved its headquarters to Chicago from Madrid in 2018, raised $140 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. It makes subscription software for developers who are working on applications for subscription software like Salesforce. 

Here’s a haunting little tidbit from that same article: ”Research firm PitchBook says the average valuation for a late-stage deal in the first half of 2021 was $931 million — an increase of more than 855 in just a year — fueled in part by a frothy market for public stock offerings and buyouts.”

At least none of that money is going into works of pure fiction. That’s why VC firm Jump Capital has raised a $350 million fund to invest in cryptocurrency startups — because the system works!

We’ll just tuck this news about hiring slowing sharply this month right here

But hey, there’s still money to be made! Law firm Cooley signed a lease for a full floor of the new Wacker Drive skyscraper, hoping to horn in on the legal market for Chicago’s tech startups. Someone’s gotta take up that defense!

Jobs, Glorious Jobs

Director of Content Strategy for Tom, Dick and Harry Creative
Not our fave name, but it is a tiny agency doing good work, and we know at least one person who’s happy there. Though we’ll admit this part of the job description is confusing: “And at the end of the day, it’s the end of the day. We go home to be with our families or dogs. (Unless you need something turned around overnight.)”

​​Climate and Sustainability Reporter for The 19th
Feminist, non-profit publication ✅
Rich and meaningful topic for reporting ✅
Listed salary ✅
Competitive salary ❌
It may be a good job, but it’s still a journalism job. 

Associate VP of Digital Strategy and Transformation at NorthShore Health
As long as there’s a plan for this job to come through to the other side of NorthShore’s newly announced merger with Edward-Elmhurst health, this could be an opportunity to fix the technology many many people rely on to access care. Also, your co-workers would be vaccinated

Inspiration of the week

H/T to Cassady Rosenblum for the op-ed that brought this to our attention (yes, we heard about it from the New York Times not from Twitter, adjust your expectations). “From my view down here on the carpet, I see a system that, even if it bounces back to ‘normal,’ I have no interest in rejoining, a system that is beginning to come undone.”

Anyway we took last week off to just not write this, or anything, and it wasn’t nearly enough but it at least felt like finally admitting that things are Not OK. We don’t have an answer but we will try to sit on porches in the short term and support alternative economic and societal systems in the long term. 

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