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Middle Bit: Over $100 million in capital raised this week around the Midwest

Raising Capital

There are five Midwest companies that raised over $100 million this week according to multiple media reports.

Label Insight—a Chicago-based product transparency company—raised $21 million in Series C funding, the company announced Tuesday. According to a news release, Label Insight plans to use the funding to hire data science professionals, continue product development and accelerate customer growth.

Another Chicago-based company—Tovala—raised $9.2 million in Series A funding, according to TechCrunch on Monday. According to the story, Tovala is a three-year-old startup that makes $399 “smart” ovens, along with meals to cook inside them.

A third Chicago company—Heretik—raised $2.4 million in seed funding. Heretik is a software company that uses machine learning in the contract review process.

Colorado-based Canvas Technology raised $15 million in Series A funding, the company announced Tuesday. According to the release, the funding will be used for accelerating the Development of Autonomous Robotic Systems.

And Respicardia Inc.—a Minnesota-based medical technology company—raised $58.5 million in funding

Hudl unveils new headquarters in Lincoln

A new 170,000 square foot headquarters was unveiled Tuesday for Lincoln-based Hudl, according to a story Wednesday on Silicon Prairie News.

Hudl provides video review and performance analysis tools for sports teams and athletes at each level.

According to the story, approximately 350 of Hudl’s over 1,000 employees moved into the fourth through seventh floors at the end of November. Officials told SPN that the new space can comfortably accommodate 600-800 employees total.

The new building was two and a half years in the making.

What else happened…


Santa is reinvented for modern age, taking calls, migrating to apps – The Denver Post

Convercent—a Denver-based ethics and compliance cloud software provider—raised $25 million in Series E funding – Term Sheet


Five myths about bitcoin – Chicago Tribune

Conagra to acquire Milwaukee-based Sandwich Bros – Chicago Tribune


Detroit’s Amazon bid pitches tax breaks –


Mayo’s new collaboration continues its work with digital health startups –


Inside Amazon’s fast delivery service, Prime Now –

Klappa flips the switch for solar energy –

Middle Bit: Over $100 million in capital raised this week around 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
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