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Middle Bit: Dr. Charlie Miller to give keynote at Iowa Technology Summit

The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) announced on Wednesday that Dr. Charlie Miller will deliver the keynote presentation at the Iowa Technology Summit on Tuesday, October 2.

Miller currently serves as the Principal Autonomous Vehicle Security Architect at Cruise Automation. In addition, he is a former National Security Agency hacker, a 4-time winner of Pwn2Own and the first to hack both iPhone and Android phones. Miller gained national attention in 2014, when he and his research partner Chris Valasek hacked a Jeep Cherokee and took control of the vehicle from more than 10 miles away.

“TAI is excited to bring renowned ‘White Hat’ hacker, Dr. Charlie Miller to Iowa,” said, Brian Waller, TAI President in the press release. “Dr. Miller will show Iowa technology leaders how hackers exploit vulnerabilities and why companies should address cybersecurity before assets are put at risk. He’ll provide attendees with practical suggestions to improve security and solutions for risk prevention.”

Registration now open for Denim Summit

Denim Summit 2017 attendees got a glimpse into the future of the insurance industry and the digital era of the consumer during the Insurtech Fireside Chat. Photo courtesy of Denim.

Denim Summit, an event for insurance, financial services and innovation thought leaders, is now open for registration.

Taking place on October 24-25, the event will bring together regional leaders from the insurance and financial services industries for a day of exploration and collaboration on the future of insurtech.

New this year, the event will include an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 24. The reception will be held at the Denim Headquarters in Downtown Des Moines.

For a limited time, tickets are available for $50 and will be available for $95 when early bird registration ends.

What else is happening?


For the last two years, Minnesota’s food and agriculture startups have had their own track in Twin Cities Startup Week (TCSW), a seven-day celebration of tech and innovation in Minnesota. But this fall, the food and agriculture startup community, will host a separate theme week occurring at the same time at TCSW, called Food, Ag, Ideas Week. This year’s inaugural Food, Ag, Ideas Week will consist of more than a dozen speakers and panel discussions led by Grow North. These events will address topics such as food innovation and tech, sustainable agriculture and the future of farming. –American Inno


On June 24th, raised $8.4 million of Series A angel funding. Investors in the round include Lisa Nichols and a network of others. St. Louis-based is the developer of an artificial intelligence platform used to transform the modern workforce. The platform was created to reduce the time employees spend orchestrating work instead of producing work. –Silicon Prairie News


NMotion, Lincoln’s startup accelerator, has announced its 2018 cohort of teams along with some changes in the program.The five teams chosen for the 2018 cohort are part of a larger group that is completing NMotion Academy, a virtual 8-week program that leverages cutting-edge, hands-on learning to provide individuals and teams with real-world startup experience. –Silicon Prairie News





Middle Bit: Dr. Charlie Miller to give keynote at Iowa Technology Summit | 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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