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Drawn to startups: the work of Nathan T. Wright

Inspired by storytelling through imagery, we asked Nathan T. Wright to tackle our Q&A with illustration. We’re hopeful to see more of his work regularly at Clay & Milk in the weeks to come. Until then, his answers to our questions, below. And his bio beyond that.

C&M: For those who don’t know you, please draw what you look like.
Nathan T. Wright: It me.

C&M: What did you want to be when you grew up?
NTW: Astronaut.

C&M: What does your pet look like?
NTW: This is Arlo the Corgi. He’s 14 years old and a very good boy.

C&M: What is your favorite article of clothing?
NTW: Jeans.

C&M: Who is your hero?
NTW: Optimus Prime.

C&M: What does your home look like?
NTW: This is my Beaverdale home.

C&M: What was the last book you read?
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

C&M: What Netflix show do you binge watch?
Mystery Science Theater 3000.

C&M: What will you never forget?
Watching a space shuttle launch.

C&M: What was your first illustration as a kid?
A lowercase letter “e” eating an eel that has arms and legs for some reason.

Nathan T. Wright is a freelance illustrator and artist based in Des Moines, Iowa, specializing in custom illustration projects, prints and books. His work is inspired by sci-fi, comics, emerging tech, animation, cartoon strips and the occasional glass of whiskey.

Nathan is a frequent presenter on creativity and innovation topics at conferences such as South by Southwest Interactive and in front of professional organizations and universities. He has taught Internet marketing as an adjunct instructor at Drake University and is active in the Des Moines technology and entrepreneur communities.

Before taking the plunge as a full-time artist, he worked in digital marketing with various stints at an advertising agency, his own consulting firm and a large retail company.

Jami Milne is the interim managing editor of Clay & Milk. Send her an email at


Drawn to startups: the work of Nathan T. Wright | 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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