Middle Bit: Pappajohn competition awards announced at Drake University

Winners of the 2017 Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition were announced during a luncheon Thursday afternoon at Drake University.

Gross-Wen Technologies won the competition and received $25,000. They invented an algae-based wastewater treatment process that recovers nutrients from wastewater.

Financial software company Lienwaivers.io finished in second place winning $15,000. Vacation rental travel insurance company Pablow finished in third place, winning $10,000.

Six other companies received $1,000 each. Three companies received $2,000 each.

The annual John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition encourages and promotes entrepreneurial activity. The competition is open to new businesses in Iowa that are not yet cash flow positive.

Iowa Ideas Conference takes place in Cedar Rapids

Over 200 speakers in 80 different events made up the Iowa Ideas Conference in Cedar Rapids this week.

In one hour sessions, panelists and speakers presented and took questions from the audience on topics ranging from health care, education, energy, agriculture and more.

Clay & Milk moderated the “Smart Cities” panel Thursday morning in the technology track.

Panelists from Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Dubuque presented how they were using data, sensors and mobile apps to improve the transportation in their cities. Discussion centered around how rural communities could best implement technology into their communities, on tight budgets.

The conference finishes today.

What else happened…


Farm-monitoring startup hitting new heights – The News Gazette

Raise—an online gift card marketplace—closed a $60 million Series C funding round led by Accel, with participation from PayPal, New Enterprise Associates and Bessemer Venture Partners. The total capital raised by the Chicago-based company is nearly $150 million.


Denver plans to provide Amazon with single proposal – The Denver Post


How a Midwestern City bounced back from its own Harvey – The Wall Street Journal

McDonald’s self ordering screens arrive in Iowa – The Des Moines Register

Apple deal debated during Iowa Ideas panel – The Gazette

What’s needed for autonomous cars to come to Iowa? – The Gazette


High-tech Top Golf coming to Twin Cities – Star Tribune


St. Louis accelerator invests in high potential AgTech startups – SPN.com

LaunchKC winner Cambrian Tech taking simple idea to new reality – startlandnews.com

Other newsworthy items…

Venture capital group sues Trump administration for delaying ‘startup visa’ – Geekwire.com