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Middle Bit: Minneapolis health care company raises $160 million; Eight KC startups receive funding

Minneapolis-based healthcare company Bright Health announced Thursday it raised $160 million in a Series B funding round, a news release said. 

According to the release, Bright Health will use the funding to support its mission to transform the healthcare system through its Care Partnership model. The company offers its health insurance plans directly to consumers, via broker partners and through public and private health insurance exchanges.

According to a Series B funding round means the product is being sold in the market and funding is required to scale up.

Tips for elevator pitches

The CEO of an independent advertising agency told the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make in pitching their startup is they don’t tell a compelling story.

Greg Andersen, the CEO of Bailey Lauerman, did a Q&A with the website and provided some helpful few keys to have successful elevator pitches.

KC startups awarded funding

The Kaufman Foundation awarded $840,000 through the 2016 KC Accelerator Challenge to eight local venture accelerator programs.

According to Kauffman Foundation CEO Wendy Guillies said in a release that their goal is to increase entrepreneurial success in Kansas City.

“More startups lead to higher productivity, wage growth and quality of life for the entire community,” Guillies said. “We believe the startups are empowered when they connect to established resources.”

Tech to save the piglets reported SwineTech raised $1.3 million to go towards wearable devices for mother pigs that send an impulse when she is crushing a piglet.

SwineTech is an Iowa-based company in New Sharon that works towards automating the farrowing processes in the pork industry.

What else happened…


Why does Des Moines have worse afforable housing than Brooklyn? – The Guardian

Immigrants keep an Iowa Meatpacking town alive and growing – The New York Times


Farmers may soon be growing industrial hemp – State Journal Register

Obama’s Former Chef & Advisor talks FoodTech and investing –


Avtex, a provider of Customer Interaction Management Solutions, announce aquisition – Techdotmn


Iowa State’s Wiezien named provost and dean of College of Enginnering and Computing at Missouri University – Missouri S&T


Lab space a key to a start up’s big pay day – Milwaukee Journal Sentinal




Middle Bit: Minneapolis health care company raises $160 million; Eight KC startups receive funding | 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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