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Middle Bit: Over $100 million in new Midwest venture deals this week

Midwest Investment

Over $100 million in new venture deals for Midwestern companies were announced this week.

Uptake—a Chicago-based predictive analytics software provider—secured $117 million in Series D funding, according to a story Thursday on

And on Wednesday, reported Revel—a Minneapolis-based health engagement company—secured a $17 million growth equity investment.

Uptake will use the funds to accelerate its global expansion in key industries; Revel will expand into target markets and advance the innovation and technology development at Revel Connect, according to

Kinosol receives $17,000 grant

The Dennis Byrne’s Endowment awarded a $17,000 grant to Ames-based Kinosol, the company announced Thursday.

According to a press release Thursday, the grant is due to a fund left by Dennis Byrne, who was a member of the Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames.

Byrne died in 2013 and left $1.1 million to be used for mission work, with a focus on international efforts.

Kinosol will use the funds to deliver 100 KinosSol Orendas to KKOVC—their partner in Rukungiri, Uganda; Delivery will begin this month.

KKOVC is an organization that works to improve the welfare of the people of Uganda by providing modern farming through free workshops and training.

What else happened…


Denver’s tech job and office rent increases slower than most of top 30 markets – The Denver Post

Cannabis Tech Partnership: Massroots, Tech Frontier team up on consumer data – The Denver Post


A shift in Minnesota workplaces –


Document: Techstars raising a $400 million startup fund –

St. Louis’ high-growth companies – St. Louis Post Dispatch

KC based SMG drives market research innovation with open-minded culture – SPN


Can Omaha be the most women-friendly tech community in the US? – SPN


Automation could kill 73 million jobs by 2030 –



Middle Bit: Over $100 million in new Midwest venture deals this week | 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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