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Middle Bit: Iowa Gov. Reynolds wants to increase manufacturing; St. Louis based tech scam settled by FTC

During a 15 minute speech Thursday in Dubuque in front of 400 business leaders Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds applauded the state’s low unemployment rate of 3.1 percent and said the state’s goal is to increase its annual manufacturing gross domestic product by $3 billion by 2022.

Reynolds spoke on the final day of the Taking Care of Business Conference at Grand River Center.  According to the Telegraph Herald, Reynolds said the biggest constraint to advanced manufacturing is workforce.

“We need a ready, well-equipped and available workforce,” she said.

Nearly $16 million raised in Cleveland

Scout RFP, a Cleveland, Ohio based cloud strategic sourcing platform, announced Thursday that it raised $15.5 million in Series B funding.

Series B funding helps take the business to the next level, past the development stage.

In its announcement Scout RFP said the financing will help expand engineering, extend its reach to serve global customer demands and accelerate the innovation of its sourcing platform.

FTC settles St. Louis-based tech support scam

A federal judge on Tuesday approved the final part of a settlement worth just under $6 million between the Federal Trade Commission and telemarketers accused of running a tech support scam via pop-up ads, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to the story, the FTC claims that five com[anies used pop-up internet ads to falsely claim that consumers’ computers need repairs because they had been hacked or infected with a virus.

According to the FTC, consumers thought they were calling numbers associated with Microsoft or Apple, but actually reached a telemarketing boiler room in India where scammers tricked them into spending hundreds of dollars for repairs.

What else happened:


• Nearly $3 million in grants awarded to Iowa communities for infrastructure – via Iowa Economic Development Authority


• Flame Dragon, an experiment designed by a Washington University engineer professor, is headed to the International Space Station – via The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

• Experiment designed by Wash. U engineering professor heads to International Space Station – via The St. Louis Post Dispatch

• KC Startup takes home $20,000 – via

• St. Louis based Greetabl raised $1.5 million this week – via 


Key Surgical, a Minneapolis, Minn. based operating instrument manufacturer and Interlock Medizintechnik GmbH, a Germany-based sterile services departments product supplier, merged to create a provider of sterile processing and operating room supplies – via


Wiretap, a Columbus-based provider of security solutions for Enterprise Social Networks raises $4.9M from Draper Triangle Ventures & others – via 

Middle Bit: Iowa Gov. Reynolds wants to increase manufacturing; St. Louis based tech scam settled by FTC | 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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