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Middle Bit: New study finds West Des Moines in the top 25 for ‘digitalization’

West Des Moines

A recent study from The Brookings Institute on the diffusion of digital technology into nearly every business and workplace ranked West Des Moines 25th out of 100 cities in the United States in, “Digitalization.”

The study analyzed the digital content of 545 occupations, covering 90 percent of the U.S workforce in all industries since 2001. The analysis categorizes U.S occupations into jobs that require high, medium or low digital skills and tracks the impacts of rapid change.

West Des Moines had:

  • 24.3 percent of jobs require high digital skills
  • 47.7 percent of jobs require medium digital skills
  • 28 percent of jobs require low digital skills

According to the study, 56 percent of the jobs studied required low amounts of digital skills. Nearly 40 percent of jobs required medium digital skills and five percent required high digital skills.

By 2016, the jobs requiring high digital skills jumped to 23 percent; 48 percent of jobs required medium digital skills and 30 percent required low digital skills.

Omaha finished 37th out of 100 and:

  • 24.3 jobs require high digital skills
  • 46.6 require medium digital skills
  • 29.3 require low digital skills

The full report can be found here.

San Jose is ranked number one.

SmartScripts raises $2.5 million

Smartscripts—an Eastern Iowa pharmacy company—raised $2.5 million in investment funding to help its prescription delivery and management system, according to a story Monday in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

SmartScripts will use the funding to hire sales staff and build software to better connect with customers. The company also plans to open an office in Iowa City with three full-time employees, according to the story.

Instead of sending patients home with multiple pill bottles, SmartScripts uses an automated process to package prescriptions in individual pouches based on what patients need them.

Then those packages are delivered to customers.

According to the story, Rural Vitality Funds—an investment fund under the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation—was SmartScripts’s lead investor. Next Level Ventures and the Iowa Startup Accelerator also invested.

What else happened…


Choozle Raises $6 million in Series B funding –

SendGrid raised $131 million in a successful IPO but the founders aren’t the big financial winners –

GoSpotCheck—a Denver, Colo.-based—SaaS-based field execution management platform, raised $21.5 million in Series B1 funding. Insight Venture Partners and Point Nine Capital co-led the round – The Denver Post


Phyter Food—a West Chicago, IL-based—creator of vegetable-based nutrition bars, raised $1 million in funding –


Facebook plans to help Iowa’s small businesses – The Des Moines Register

MākuSafe develops wearable devices to improve workplace safety – SPN

Koch brothers backing Meredith’s merger attempt with Time – The Des Moines Register


Coworking provider Spaces to open in North Loop –

Outsiders call Twin Cities a ‘long shot’ to land Amazon’s HQ2 –

Introducing your furry cubicle neighbor –


How an introvert can attend networking events –

SafeTrek is a semifinalist for women’s safety XPrize – The St. Louis Post Dispatch


New Papillion Facebook data center to be powered by Enel wind farm – SPN


Oros Apparel—a Cincinnati, OH-based company—that uses NASA insulation technology, aerogel, in its outerwear, closed a $2 million seed round of funding –


Technology can clone your pet, for $50,000 – Washington Post


Apprentices are building the Milwaukee Bucks arena, careers –



Middle Bit: New study finds West Des Moines in the top 25 for 'digitalization' | 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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