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Registration now open for Raising Capital Seminar

Set to take place Thursday, Sept. 27, the Raising Capital Seminar aims to help entrepreneurs learn how to successfully secure equity funding for their startup companies.

The all-day seminar is targeted at startups getting ready to raise their first round of equity capital. The event will take those attending through all the steps that need to take place before, during and after raising capital. Speakers will include local experts, including entrepreneurs and angel investors. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from entrepreneurs who have been in their position as well as investors who directly fund startup companies.

Registration is now open for the seminar with an admission fee of $30. The seminar will take place at BrownWinick Law Firm from 8am – 3pm.

“We’re seeing a lot more companies around here starting to raise money,” said Mike Colwell, Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “So we need to spend more time teaching them the right way to raise money, how to find investors and what to do once they’ve raised it.”

Many of the entrepreneurs who have attended past seminars have seen a lot of success in raising capital. Some of the more successful companies that have participated include Denim, AgriSync, VetMeasure, InsuranceMenu and FiveQ.

“Learning from investors, legal experts and other DSM entrepreneurs was a tremendous help as we started our company in 2015,” said Gregory Bailey, founder and CEO of Denim. “Now, having successfully raised investment in each of the last three years, I would recommend the Raising Capital Seminar for any entrepreneur preparing to raise capital. The seminar provides a great foundation for learning the ins-and-outs of fundraising for your business.”

Those who are not able to attend can watch the most recent Raising Capital Seminar that took place in March here.

Registration now open for Raising Capital Seminar | 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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