Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

The Middle Bit: Week of Feb. 12

Each week, Clay & Milk will curate a rundown of startup, tech and innovation news from “the middle.” Check back every Friday for that week’s Middle Bit.


Cloud-based accounting company Xero confirmed it has moved its U.S. headquarters from San Francisco to Denver. Via The Denver Post

The Coloradoan profiled a Fort Collins entrepreneur who has created an app to match people who need storage with those that have the extra space. Via The Coloradoan


Blue Sky Innovation is taking the month of February to look at coworking in Chicago, including this piece on how the local spaces have changed. Via The Chicago Tribune


The Des Moines Register profiled Dwolla’s return and refocus on Iowa. Via The Des Moines Register

Iowa Women Lead Change, which has organized prior “Invest in She” pitch competitions, has acquired the Quad Cities Women’s Connection. Via The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Uber announced it’s bringing its “UberXL” service to Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Via Uber press release

The Technology Association of Iowa will host a new event, the “Iowa Technology Summit,” in late September in Des Moines. Via TAI press release


Two Ann Arbor startups, a digital security firm and one that makes warming blankets for premature infants, have notched some milestones after growing out of Michigan’s startup ecosystem. Via The Detroit Free Press

Grand Ventures, a new venture fund based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, wants to raise $50 million and plans to target early-stage technology companies in the Midwest. Via TechCrunch

The Middle, broadly

Victor Hwang, the VP of entrepreneurship for the Kauffman Foundation, spoke before Congress to discuss obstacles entrepreneurs often face and said the U.S. is suffering from an entrepreneurship deficit, Startland News reported. Via Startland News


Fargo-based Arthur Ventures has closed on $43 million of a $50 million target raise. Via Tech.MN

In its latest move to boost farming innovation, Land O’ Lakes has started a $150,000 contest around how drones can be used in agriculture. Via The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal


Google Fiber is continuing its expansion in Kansas City, even under speculation of a sale and that Fiber will lose ‘hundreds of employees.’ Via The Kansas City Star/Startland News

EQStl looks at what may be in store for downtown St. Louis and its innovation district. Via EQStl

A Kansas City-based co-founder of a dairy company is branching out into the ag-tech space with TerraManus Technologies. Via Startland News

Grocery delivery service Instacart launched its service in St. Louis to high demand. Via The St. Louis Post Dispatch


Facebook looks to be eyeing a Sarpy County, Nebraska location for a new data center, but officials and the company have not confirmed plans. Via The Omaha World Herald

Lincoln-based software company Don’t Panic Labs is embracing a “dev-for-equity” business model, providing startups with software development and training in exchange for equity. Via Silicon Prairie News


UberEats launched its food delivery service in Milwaukee. Via The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Journal Sentinel profiled a lab working to develop batteries that are more powerful but also less expensive. Via The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at

1 Comment

  • Aaron Horn (@HornIT)
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Uber XL may have launched in Iowa City yesterday, but nobody requested one in the 3 hours I was driving around last night. ;-)

Comments are closed.

The Middle Bit: Week of Feb. 12 | Clay & Milk
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
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now