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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

Hudl building

Hudl 

Privately-held startup companies that reach a business valuation of $1 billion are dubbed unicorns.

We don't have any of those in Nebraska, to my knowledge, but if there's a Cornhusker State company that ever reaches that mark, it's likely to be Hudl.

The Lincoln-based sports video-editing company is approaching a valuation of half a billion dollars, based on its latest round of venture capital funding.

Hudl received an additional $30 million in funding from several investors back in July, an amount that is the second-largest venture capital raise in the state's history, dwarfed only by Hudl's $72.5 million haul back in 2015.

According to Pitchbook, a company that provides research and data about private equity, that investment valued Hudl at $430 million. That's up from a valuation of about $270 million at the time of the large investment in 2015.

Hudl, which moved into its new headquarters in the Haymarket in December, has said it plans to use much of the $30 million to hire upward of 300 new employees.

Bankruptcy decline continues

Venture capital funding can be one measure of how the economy is doing, especially at the upper levels. Another measure, indicative more of how things are doing toward the bottom, is bankruptcy figures.

Those numbers continued to go down in 2017, with national figures down about 1 percent.

The situation was even better in Nebraska, where filings fell below 4,000 for the first time in quite some time. There were 3,997 filings in the state last year, down 2.6 percent from 2016.

That's the lowest total since bankruptcy law changes in 2005 made it more difficult to file. It's also the lowest total since at least 2000, which is as far back as I could find figures.

There were some potentially concerning trends in the numbers, however. Chapter 11 bankruptcies, which typically involve businesses, grew to 20 last year. That was up from 16 in 2016 and nine in 2015. Chapter 12 bankruptcies, which are farm bankruptcies, hit 20 in 2017, up from 12 in 2016 and eight in 2015.

While those are still very small numbers, the increases definitely bear watching.

How they stack up

I often use this space to give updates on significant national rankings in which Lincoln or Nebraska rank highly, and here are a few that showed up in my email recently:

* Third-cheapest city for utility costs (Student Loan Hero)

* Eighth-best place to apply for a credit card (SmartAsset)

* Fourth-best state for work-life balance (FitSmallBusiness.com)

Best of the Buzz

Excerpts from recent Biz Buzz posts:

* Lincoln's last Schlotzsky's has closed its doors.

The location at 4320 N. 27th St. had a sign up last week telling customers, "We are no longer open for business," and directing them to its two Omaha locations.

* The Grey Whale Sushi & Grill is planning to open a second downtown location in the Larson Building at 1317 Q St.

Specifically, the new location will be in the space that used to be occupied by Firehouse Subs.

The new location will not be a carbon copy of the Grey Whale at the Grand Manse at 10th and P streets. In fact, I'm told it will be much more focused on sushi, with a particular focus on poke (pronounced poh-kay), a Hawaiian raw fish dish often served as an appetizer.

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Go to Journalstar.com/bizbuzz to read more Biz Buzz posts.

Have a business news tip? Send it to businessnews@journalstar.com.

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