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Middle Bit: Kinosol closes in on $35,000; Drake students name their top social media sites

The largest statewide startup competition in the United States has an Iowa-based company in the finals.

Kinosol—an Ames based company working to decrease global food waste—will be competing in the finals in the student division of the Minnesota Cup, according to a news release.

According to the release, Kinosol will have 12 minutes to give a presentation over their business followed by 12 minutes of questions from the review board. First place is awarded $35,000 and second place wins $5,000.

Kinosol will present on Sept. 19.

Over 1,300 ideas were submitted for this year’s competition. The Minnesota Cup has been held for 13 years.

Drake University students name top social media sites

First-year students at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Drake University said their top three social media networks are Youtbe, Snapchat and Instagram, according to a survey done by Drake University Professor Chris Snider.

According to a post on, those three platforms finished 1-2-3 in his annual survey; 71 students took the survey ranging from ages 17 to 19.

The survey asks students to rate social networking sites. This is the fifth year Snider has conducted the survey.

Youtube, Snpachat and Instagram have finished as the top three networks all five years.

1 Million Cups expands

The entrepreneurial events series 1 Million Cups has set a goal to expand to 500 communities by the end of 2018, according to a story in

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation started 1 Million Cups in Kansas City in 2012 and has spread to 140 communities across the nation since the endn of 2016, according to the story.

Des Moines was the first community 1 Million Cups expanded to.

What else happened…


FareHarbor quintuples Denver HQ while turning away venture funding – Denver Post


$50 million gift will name the Iowa State College of Business –

Could Iowa land Amazon’s $5 billion HQ2 project? – The Des Moines Register

Iowa State names Eyles as Director of Pappajohn Center – Business Record


Target looks to hire 100,000 for holiday season – Star Tribune


Tips for overcoming experience gap, building a diverse workforce –


Middle Bit: Kinosol closes in on $35,000; Drake students name their top social media sites | 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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