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MarryMyCity: a new way to do wedding registries

After spending loads of money on the same old wedding gifts from big box stores, Kaitlin Beyers and Tallis Strub had grown frustrated with the scarce amount of unique gifting options available to wedding guests and decided to do something about it.

In 2016, they started MarryMyCity, a unique wedding gift registry that provides couples with curated items and experiences. Based in Cedar Rapids, MarryMyCity allows couples to register with local businesses in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.

“We were both attending a lot of weddings and buying a lot of wedding gifts from major big box stores,” Beyers said. “And the buying experience felt pretty meaningless and mundane. That’s where the idea for MarryMyCity came from. We wanted to shift to a buying experience that is a little bit more personalized.”

In addition to providing unique wedding experiences for couples, Beyers and Strub say that MarryMyCity serves as a great marketing strategy for local, small businesses as well.

“Partnering with small businesses gives them the opportunity, not only to connect with local customers but to customers that are coming in from out of state,” Strub said.

“A lot of couples are discovering these local businesses through the registry. So for the businesses, it’s just a really great model for them to brand, share their products and tell their story,” added Beyers.

Future plans?

Beyers and Strub plan to expand outside of their current market and begin to work in cities outside of Iowa.

“We’re looking into some adjacent cities that are still in the Midwest but are a little bit larger than the Des Moines area so we can test market outside of Iowa,” Strub said. “A couple years out from now we would like to have established the Iowa market completely and be working on a national level.”

MarryMyCity: a new way to do wedding registries | 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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