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Lyft launches in 8 Iowa cities, but one report outlines an obstacle

Lyft has come to Iowa, bringing its ride-hailing service to eight Iowa cities.

Even with the launch, The Des Moines Register reported the company may have hit an obstacle.

In order to legally operate in Iowa, Lyft needs to register with the Iowa Department of Transportation, a DOT spokeswoman told the Register.

“(Lyft officials) would have to submit a registration that we could review and, assuming everything is in line, give them conditional approval to operate,” the spokeswoman told the Register. “Since they haven’t submitted a registration, we cannot begin that process.”

The company said Thursday it is expanding into 54 new cities.

It’s website now lists it’s service is available in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Ames, Iowa City, Davenport, Dubuque, Sioux City and Waterloo.

1 Comment

  • Aaron Horn (@HornIT)
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I registered as a Lyft driver before they were live and the way I discovered they were live was from this Clay & Milk article? Sure enough, I fire up the app and can now go online in Cedar Rapids. Nice rollout, Lyft! It might help to tell your drivers that you’re live…

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Lyft launches in 8 Iowa cities, but one report outlines an obstacle | 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
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