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Middle Bit: Electronic bicycle at NMotion Accelerator in Nebraska; IEDA approves awards to support jobs

Minnesota-based Kronfield Motors has developed the Raht Racer, a three-wheeled autocycle that combines an electric motor with human pedal power that can reach up to 90 miles per hour.

According to a story at the siliconprairienews, founder and CEO Rich Kronfeld participated in the 2017 NMotion Accelerator Cohort and believes his product is an electric motorcycle that is made for the highway.

“If you’re going 65, the percentage you contribute is less than if you’re going 25,” Kronfeld said. “Compared to any other kind of highway vehicle, it would be very efficient.”

Job creation, expansion happening in Iowa

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board on Friday awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to four companies for job creation and expansion projects, according to a news release issued Friday.
These awards will assist in the creation of 123 jobs, retention of 82 jobs and will result in over $5 million in new capital investment for the state.
The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Urbandale, Clarinda, Sioux City and Marshalltown.

ShipBob raises $17.5 million

ShipBob, a Chicago-based shipping service provider, raised $17.5 million in Series B funding this week.
Series B funding helps take the business to the next level and past the developmental stage.
Bain Capital Ventures led the round. Existing investors Hyde Park Venture Partners, FundersClub, Hyde Park Angels and FJ Labs participated.

What else happened…


• Snapsheet, a Chicago-based virtual claims software provider for the personal and commercial insurance industry, raised $12 million in series D funding –

• Chicago’s newest billionaire is self made – Chicago Sun Times 


• Crops need rain – The Des Moines Register

• Fireworks company asks court to stop Des Moines restrictions – The Des Moines Register

• Des Moines arts show will leave viewers uncomfortable – The Des Moines Register


• builds entrepreneurial community –


• Akron entrepreneur hopes to turn hackathon experience into startup success – Cleveland Business 

• Great Hill Partners recapitalized Quantum Health, a Columbus, Ohio-based consumer navigation and care coordination company; Financial terms weren’t disclosed – 

Middle Bit: Electronic bicycle at NMotion Accelerator in Nebraska; IEDA approves awards to support jobs | 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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