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Middle Bit: BSidesIowa hosting its security conference Monday


Nearly 200 people are expected to attend the annual information security conference Saturday organized by BSidesIowa, a Des Moines-based nonprofit.

Greg Hetrick is the lead organizer for BSidesIowa and said over 18 speakers will cover topics on hacking, preventing breaches, trends and best practices. Several hacking competitions will also be held.

“We like our events to be network driven so we like to see people interact but at the same time I want people to learn something,” Hetrick said. “We’ve got about 60 students signed up from colleges and universities in the area, so I want them to get their teeth into security and start working with people in the community.”

Hetrick said there’s a major talent shortage for local information technology jobs and hopes those students can find a potential employer at the conference. He believes that as more attention is brought to security issues, the sooner more companies take it seriously.

“Seven years ago when I started there were only those of us who sat in our basements and read really interesting articles that cared a lot about it,” Hetrick says. “To some extent, it’s getting better but we’re still not there yet.”

The BSidesIowa security conference begins at 8:45 Saturday morning at Grand View University in Des Moines.

Six teams makeup first Intrapreneur Academy

NewBoCo, the Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit welcomed six teams to its inaugural Intrapraneur Academy.

The teams represent:

  • Linn County Auditor
  • Marion Process Solutions
  • Rockwell Collins
  • United Way of East Central Iowa
  • Van Meter
  • Woofables

NewBoCo has developed a year-long program that focuses on four areas: Agile, methods, strategy and culture. Each quarter will focus on one of the four areas.

What else happened…


Digible, Inc., a Denver-based digital marketing and technology company specializing in property management, raised $250,000 in seed funding

Colorado investor group antes up $10 million toward effort to buy The Post – The Denver Post

First ‘Uber for Kids’ launches in Denver – The Denver Post


Edovo, a Chicago-based social impact startup focused on prison and jail education and communication, closed their A-3 raise with over $9 million in funding


Upper Hand, Inc., an Indianapolis-based provider of sports management software and business services secured $1.5 million in Series A funding

DemandJump, an Indianapolis-based marketing customer acquisition platform, completed a $6 million Series A financing round


Lawrence-based Merchtable supports bands on and offline – SPN


Karamba Security, a Bloomfield Hills-based provider of end-to-end automotive cybersecurity prevention solutions secured $10 million in funding

Xeeva, a Madison Heights-based global provider of intelligent procurement and sourcing software, raised over $40 million in funding


Small ball meets big data –


Kansas City lags behind St. Louis on tech pay, analysis says –


Healthfinch, a Madison-based healthcare IT company secured $6 million in financing

Middle Bit: BSidesIowa hosting its security conference Monday | 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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