Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Middle Bit: Fly-Over fund will bring $150M in new investments to the Midwest


The Rise of the Rest fund announced its investors Monday that will work to create a network for entrepreneurs in the middle of the country to align with the biggest names in business, according to a story in The New York Times.

According to The Times, the fund—which is led by Steve Case and J.D Vance—has a, “Who’s Who” from American businesses.

The names include:

  • Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
  • Eric Schmidt, chairm of Google’s parent Alphabet
  • Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks
  • The Waltons
  • The Kochs
  • The Pritzkers
  • Sean Parker, former president of Facebook

Vance told The Times the fund was meant to construct an ecosystem like the one in Silicon Valley that will provide support and connections to entrepreneurs in small towns.

Ford shifting electric car production to Mexico

Ford is shifting production of an all-electric vehicle to Mexico and create 850 jobs to work on an autonomous car in Flat Rock, Mich., according to a story Thursday in the Detroit Free Press.

Ford wants to sell the self-driving car to delivery fleets beginning in 2021, according to the story.

Jim Farley—president of Global Markets for Ford—was quoted in the story saying this shows the start of, “The foundation of Ford’s bet on AV’s (autonomous-drive vehicles). We’re very excited about what we are doing.”

The story says Ford plans to produce 4,500 autonomous vehicles annually after 2021 in Michigan and for about 25,000 electric vehicles a year in Mexico.

Ecolab acquisitions expand well beyond Minnesota

Ecolab, the maker of cleaning, sanitizing and filtration chemicals announced four acquisitions Wednesday to expand its pest-elimination and food-safety business, according to the StarTribune.

According to the story, Ecolab did not disclose the costs but said they were significant because they broaden Ecolab’s services and geographic reach. The St. Paul-based company is known for its products and services that help restaurants, hotels and hospitals.

The four companies Ecolab acquired are:

  • Arpal Group, which has offices in the United Kingdom and Middle East
  • Food Protection Services, which operates in the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes and Mississippi Delta
  • Royal Pest Solutions, based in Delaware
  • Research Fumigation Company, based in Louisiana

Ecolab generated $13.2 billion in 2016 revenue, according to the StarTribune.

What else happened…


Denver’s DaVita selling its physician network for $4.9 billion – The Denver Post

Do more votes for municipal broadband networks mean instant internet access? – The Denver Post

What happens once net neutrality rules bite the dust? – The Denver Post


The Edgewater Funds—a Chicago-based private equity firm—closed its fourth growth fund, at over $1 billion –


Tesla wins legal battle over Missouri licenses to sell cars –

KCMO, Avis, launch first-in-the-world test lab with 5,000 connected rental cars –

StartlandNews made in KC 2017 Gift Guide –

Missouri close to licensing sports fantasy websites under new law –


Area businesses pitch their services and get operating money in return – The Daily Nonpareil


Pacejet—a Columbus-based cloud enterprise business shipping software platform—closed a new multi-million dollar funding –


Madison-based insurtech startup SafetyNet launches new insurance program – SPN

Johnson Controls approves $1 billion increase in share repurchase authorization –

Who becomes an inventor in America? Wisconsin kids –


Middle Bit: Fly-Over fund will bring $150M in new investments to the Midwest | 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
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now