The beginning of the end is here…end of summer, that is. Sit back (hopefully on a beach) as we bring you this week’s ICYMI.

Here’s our weekly pick of news items impacting the innovation ecosystem:

Tech Swaps Patents For Startup Equity

On Wednesday, AQUA Licensing, a patent advisory and transaction firm, launched a new platform that connects startups to large tech companies (like AT&T and Lenovo) that offer their patents in exchange for equity in startups. The IP “purchase” is included a startup’s term sheet when closing a VC investment round.

AQUA’s managing director Mark McMillan explained the process to TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos.

The takeaway: An IP portfolio can make or break a startup’s future. Entrepreneurs need to look beyond their short term “heads-down mode” and play defense with a solid forward-thinking patent strategy because acquiring IP in early venture rounds has been shown to greatly aid in fundraising. AQUA’s platform is a pioneering step in that direction.

My Startup Ecosystem Is Better Than Yours

A company’s zip code is becoming less and less important in the startup world, evidenced by the Midwest becoming home to more and more tech startups. Crunchbase now ranks cities in the U.S. that are favorable to growing your startup. They took a look at the following:

  • The number of startups founded in each metro over the past two and a half years.
  • The number and total dollar volume of venture capital rounds raised by companies based in those areas.
  • The number of startup investors based in each city.

The takeaway: The Silicon Prairie’s 750,538 square miles is alive and growing startups! In absolute terms, Chicago leads the Silicon Prairie pack. But what we find most compelling is the strength of the cities ranked in the middle. Cities like Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit and Cleveland consistently attract capital from investors and have maintained both a high startup creation growth rate, and a strong baseline of existing startups.

Enjoy the weekend!