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Middle Bit: Amazon receives proposals for HQ2

Thursday was deadline day for cities across the United States to submit their proposals to land HQ2—the second headquarters for Seattle-based tech company Amazon.

In September Amazon announced its plans to open a second corporate headquarters in North America. Almost immediately, cities started to rally their economic development teams to land the HQ2, which comes with 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment.

Amazon says it’s looking for a metro area with more than one million people, public transportation options and incentives from local governments. co-founder John Cook said his six top contenders are Toronto, Boston, Austin, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Atlanta.

If Clay & Milk were to bet on where HQ2, it would say Delaware.

Along with news from around the Midwest, we have included as many proposals as we could find from Midwest cities attempting to land HQ2.


Colorado submits its bid to Amazon – The Denver Post

Local say no thanks to Amazon in Denver – The Denver Post

Renters will feel pain if Denver lands Amazon – The Denver Post


Chicago submits its proposal for Amazon HQ2 – Chicago Tribune


Small Business Today: Problem solving requires teamwork, focus – The Des Moines Register


Detroit a sleeper candidate for Amazon – The Detroit Free Press

Duo Security—Ann Arbor-based information security and software-as-a-service (SaaS) company—raises $70M in Series D funding –


Target to remodel stores to compete with Amazon, Walmart – Star Tribune

Minnesota submits its bid to Amazon – Star Tribune


Missouri banking on Hyperloop to land Amazon HQ2 – St. Louis Post Dispatch

St. Louis submits its bid to Amazon – St. Louis Post Dispatch

Kansas City ranks 28 out of 40 in entrepreneurial growth –


Columbus submits their proposal to Amazon – The Columbus Dispatch


Packers, Microsoft, launch $10 million venture – Associated Press

Milwaukee launches bid for Amazon – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Middle Bit: Amazon receives proposals for HQ2 | 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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