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Beratek Industries: Providing innovative solutions from design to marketing

Cedar Rapids-based Beratek Industries is helping companies take their ideas from concept-stage to products on the market.

“I’ve always been hands-on, building stuff, tinkering, fixing problems, that sort of thing,” Gerald Beranek, founder and CEO of Beratek said. “So back in 2011, I bought a CNC mill and started making products. I learned how to design products where I was working at the time and really wanted to do some custom one-off type design products.”

Beranek started with a notable product called VuSee, a baby monitor mount that he began 3-D printing and selling online in 2014.

“Within a few months, the printer was running nonstop and couldn’t keep up with sales,” Baranek said. “So I went and had it manufactured by somebody else. Shortly after that, I quit my job to solely focus on VuSee.”

After finding success with VuSee, Beranek decided he wanted to help other companies through the phases of design for manufacturing, tooling, production, warehousing, fulfillment, and marketing.

“Most companies just do one piece of this. They’re either an engineering company, or a prototyping company or a tool manufacturing company,” Beranek said. “We’ve blended all those under one roof so it truly is efficient to get a product to market.”

In addition to helping companies get their products to market, Beratek has their own product line called Story Theory.

Some of the more notable products that have come through Beratek include the Hold & Go Slow Cooker, Power Perch and Repour.

“I think down the road we’ll primarily be doing the same type of work helping people get products to the market but at a larger scale,” Beranek said. “We plan on having a lot more engineering staff and adding on more manufacturing types so we can hit a wider range of products.”




Beratek Industries: Providing innovative solutions from design to marketing | 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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