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WorkHound and the importance of defining core values

Having a well-defined set of values is essential to any company’s success. Core values are what underpin the vision, shape the culture and communicate what a company stands for. They are the essence of a company’s identity. Many companies focus on the technical competencies while forgetting to look at the underlying factors that make their companies run smoothly — core values. Establishing strong core values provides both internal and external advantages to the company.

That’s why at WorkHound, everything revolves around values.

WorkHound is a retention and referral company that helps trucking companies boost driver count and keep trucks moving. They do that by focusing on creating a real-time feedback loop between frontline workers and their companies.

“Having these has been really valuable for us in articulating that these are the things that make up the north star of our company,” said Max Farrell, co-founder and CEO of WorkHound.

“It’s really about having these as a framework around our decision making,” said Andrew Kirpalani, co-founder and CTO of WorkHound. “We use them as guiding principles when we make various decisions.”

Here are WorkHound’s company values:

Be Nice.

We spend much of our time working, we should do so in harmony and productive collaboration. We value diverse viewpoints but we must all pull together and follow our north star. Collaborators over dictators. Servant leadership.

Create Value.

We create value rather than extracting it. Creating a great product allows our customers to grow with us. Creating a great work environment inspires the best people to build with us. We believe all parties should benefit from every transaction and interaction. This goes for ourselves, our team, our partners, and our customers. Most value is created in long-term relationships

Be Transparent.

Information breeds confidence, silence breeds fear. The best decisions are driven by data. We share everything we know with each other to help prioritize our efforts, create harmony, and build where it hurts. We value trust over rules.

Win or Learn.

We don’t place blame for failure or mistakes, we celebrate and learn from them.

If we don’t screw some things up, we aren’t moving fast enough.

We must deeply understand our customer to serve them best.

We operate with speed, simplicity, and focus.

WorkHound and the importance of defining core values | 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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