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Middle Bit: Multiple central Iowa funds invest in Toronto-based FindBob


Des Monies-based Grinnell Mutual, Ames Seed Capital and the Global Insurance Accelerator invested in Toronto-based FindBob—a provider of transition management platforms for the financial services industry.

According to a story last Friday at, FindBob closed a seed round of $1.25 million to grow its sales and marketing teams.

Des Moines-based Grinnell Mutual led the investment along with MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and Ames Seed Capital. The Global Insurance Accelerator and Canadian and U.S-based angel investors provided follow-on investment.

FindBob launched in 2015.

Kansas City-based CubeMonk is into cryptocurrency

If the internet was the third industrial revolution, blockchain cryptocurrency is the fourth, according to one Kansas City entrepreneur.

A story last Thursday at featured CubeMonk—a Kansas City-based blockchain cryptocurrency platform—that combines blockchain technology with the internet of Logistics to provide lower costs, increased transparency, efficiency and profits for those in its shipping marketplace.

According to the story, CubeMonk founder and CEO Todd Haselhorst incorporated the company in September of 2017 and won first place at a blockchain pitch competition in Toronto. CubeMonk has nine full-time contributors, 15-20 advisors and other collaborators.

“Our goal is to work with the major industry players,” Haselhorst told StartlandNews. “You have brokers and shippers on one side of the ecosystem. You have providers, carriers and vendors on the other side. So creating a consortium in and around using this technology to build a marketplace and equipment exchange is, in a lot of ways, redefining the way business is done worldwide.”

According to the story, Haselhorst said most businesses aren’t ready for what’s to come but that it’s in their best interests to adapt—or better yet, lead.

“It’s here to stay and the faster we adopt this technology, the better off Kansas City will be in the future,” he says.

What else happened…


Colorado is using pot tax money to save programs funded by tobacco settlement – The Denver Post

School virtual shooter training program aimed at survival – The Denver Post

Boulder robot developer Canvas Technology raises $15 million – The Denver Post


ComEd using electric car ride-sharing program to examine energy use – Chicago Tribune


Meet the Iowans bringing a new music venue to Des Moines in 2018 – The Des Moines Register

This Iowa college senior is betting big on Bitcoin – The Des Moines Register


Live next to Lambeau Field for $1 million in bitcoin –

Middle Bit: Multiple central Iowa funds invest in Toronto-based FindBob | 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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