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Mazen Animal Health raises $11 million Series A
Mazen Animal Health announced this week the closing of its Series A round of over $11 million. The round was led by Fall Line Capital and joined by all previous seed investors including Next Level Ventures, ISA Ventures, Kent Corporation, Ag Startup Engine, Ag Ventures Alliance Summit Ag. New investors, AgFunder, 1330 Investments, Addison Laboratories,…
Bristola raises $400,000 seed round
Bristola, an Iowa-based clean energy technology and maintenance company, announced last week the successful close of a $400,000 seed investment round. Headquartered in Des Moines, Bristola is a renewable energy technology services company that has a patent pending technology that revolutionizes servicing, cleaning and maintenance in the renewable energy digester industry. Bristola’s patent pending…
Six Iowa startups receive IEDA funding
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has approved innovation funding in support of six Iowa startups. In total, the six companies received $675,000 in funding. Here are the startups that received funding. Axis-U Axis-U of Ankeny developed an online pre-apprenticeship training platform that helps Iowa employers connect to job seekers. After starting with the healthcare industry,…
Applications open for second cohort of Builders + Backers accelerator
Applications are now open for the second cohort of the Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator, a new community-based accelerator program in Iowa City. The Idea Accelerator is a 90-day, virtual program to get your idea off the ground. All accepted into the program will receive $5,000 in funding to help test out their business idea. The…
Alquist 3D to build 200 3D-printed homes in Virginia
Alquist 3D, a 3D-printing construction firm based in Iowa, has announced plans to build 200 homes in the state of Virginia.  The initiative — dubbed Project Virginia — will see the development of 200 homes across the state over 3-years beginning this summer. Alquist kicked off the project with a demonstration near the site of the…
Des Moines Charity Hackathon set to return next month
dsmHack 2022  will take place June 2-4 at West48 in West Des Moines. The annual 48-hour hackathon will help local nonprofit organizations solve technology problems they’re facing. The event connects technology enthusiasts including developers, designers, and project managers and partners them with nonprofits selected through an application process. Volunteers and nonprofits will come together to…
Winners of the 2022 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition
Three prizes in the amount of $5,000 have been given to the winners of the of the 2022 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition held remotely in late April. The winning entries were chosen based on their presentations, the viability of their plans and their ability to answer questions about their business proposals. Regional winners who…
Ames startup Brainsoft receives $256K SBIR grant
Ames startup Brainsoft has been awarded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $256,000 to conduct research and development work on using brainwaves in virtual reality applications. Brainsoft develops technologies for using human brainwaves to control objects and studies the relations of the human brain activities to the emotional and intellectual states. The project addresses the…
Steel Therapeutics raises $1.5 million seed round
Steel Therapeutics, an early stage pharmaceutical company focused on increasing access to compounded drug therapies, announced this week that it has closed on $1.5 million in financing in an over-subscribed seed round. The company’s financing was led by ISA Ventures, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and included a several private investors with significant industry experience. “We…
Iowa Center for Economic Success opens second location in Muscatine
Iowa Center for Economic Success (The Iowa Center) was recently awarded a 3-year $295,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The grant will support the statewide expansion of The Iowa Center to Muscatine and the surrounding areas. The Iowa Center focuses on offering support to local small businesses, including one-on-one counseling sessions or group…
Clay & Milk | Covering Iowa's startup, entrepreneurial and tech communities
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at mpatane@clayandmilk.com.
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