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Ag, insurance and manufacturing receive Prometheus Award nods

Three stalwarts of Iowa’s economy are all receiving recognition at this year’s LWBJ Prometheus Awards.

The Technology Association of Iowa released the finalists for the 2017 awards Monday. While the list includes companies from various industries, a number of entries hail from agriculture, insurance and the manufacturing or construction sectors.

For instance, insuretech startups Gain Compliance and Denim, construction payments platform, and manufacturer Beratek Industries are all up for “Outstanding Startup Company of the Year,” along with iotaMotion, a University of Iowa spinoff.

Swinetech and Terva, two ag-tech related startups founded by students, also have finalist nominations.

In a statement, TAI said the 2017 nominees represent “the most diverse and competitive pool to date.”

TelePharm, the Iowa City startup that sold to Cardinal Health last year, received a number of finalist nods, including a CEO of the Year nomination for Roby Miller.

Continuing this year are two categories introduced in 2016: “Ag Technology Company of the Year” and “Technology Community of the Year.” John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group and Iowa City won those respective awards last year.

There is a notable change from past Prometheus Award events. Workiva, the Ames software firm that swept some of the larger awards in past years, is not a finalist. The company said it would take itself out of the running and instead sponsor the “Large Technology Company of the Year” award.

Below is a full list of the 2017 finalists. The awards are scheduled for April 20 in Des Moines.

Outstanding Startup Company of the Year

  • BeraTrek Industries
  • Denim
  • Gain Compliance
  • iotaMotion

Student Innovation of the Year

  • AdFly, LLC
  • Health Tech Solutions, Inc.
  • PollUp Solutions, Inc.
  • SwineTech
  • Terva

Mobile App of the Year

  • Higher Learning Technologies
  • HowFactory
  • Intelligent Solutions Group
  • Phantom EFX
  • Via-Wise

Life Sciences/Biotech Company of the Year

  • Advanced Analytical Technologies, Inc.
  • Exemplar Genetics
  • Newlink Genetics
  • Viewpoint Molecular Targeting

Software Company of the Year

  • Arreya Digital Signage Suite
  • Collective Data, Inc.
  • GlobalVetLINK
  • Innovative Software Engineering (ISE)
  • TelePharm

IT Service Provider of the Year

  • Carrier Access, Inc.
  • Circle Computer Resources, Inc.
  • Far Reach
  • Involta
  • Pillar Technology

Top Growth Company of the Year

  • Advanced Analytical Technologies, Inc.
  • Circle Computer Resources, Inc.
  • Integrated Telehealth Partners
  • Pillar Technology
  • TMG

Best User of Technology

  • Merchants Bonding Company
  • Pella Corporation
  • TelePharm
  • UnityPoint Health
  • Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Ag Technology Company of the Year

  • AgriSync
  • DISTek Integration, Inc.
  • GlobalVetLINK
  • Performance Livestock Analytics
  • SwineTech

CEO of the Year

  • Gary Seamans, IDx, LLC
  • Eric Engelmann, NewBoCo
  • Aaron Schurman, Phantom EFX
  • Roby Miller, TelePharm
  • Shazia Manus, TMG

CIO/CTO/CSO of the Year

  • Trace Steffen, HowFactory
  • Ken Kremer, Involta
  • Terry Reinsager, MediRevv
  • Doug Fick, Principal
  • Pam Brodsack, TMG

Technology Community of the Year

  • Ames
  • Cedar Falls
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Greater Des Moines
  • Spencer
  • Urbandale

Technology Company of the Year (Small & Medium)

  • Collective Data, Inc
  • GlobalVetLINK
  • Higher Learning Technologies
  • Shift Interactive
  • TelePharm

The Workiva Large Technology Company of the Year

  • Advanced Analytical Technologies, Inc.
  • Aureon
  • Circle Computer Resources, Inc.
  • Phantom EFX
  • Pillar Technology

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

Ag, insurance and manufacturing receive Prometheus Award nods | 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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