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Middle Bit: Multiple student startup events happening in October

Iowa Startup Games

Iowa Startup Games, a three-day event where students, from all areas of study, pitch their ideas to have an impact will take place October 26-28.

Students will start off by sharing their ideas and will then form teams and work together to bring the best ideas to life. On the third and final day, each team will pitch to a group of panelists for a chance to win cash prizes.

Not only will students have the opportunity to develop their ideas and grow their professional network, but they will also be able to earn a credit hour, at no cost.

Students must be able to attend the majority of the weekend events, teams depend on their members for help and support.

If a student does not have a startup idea, they will be able to choose an idea and join that team. Iowa Startup Games is designed to create a new business, with a team, over a weekend.

Click here to apply to participate.

Startup Pitch Event

On Thursday, October 4, the ISU John Pappajohn Center will host the Startup Pitch Event.

Students will have the chance to pitch their business concept or idea in a 90-second elevator pitch to a panel of judges.

The winner of the Best Overall Pitch will have the option of attending the CEO National Conference and advancing to the National CEO Pitch Competition. They will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Kansas City from November 1-3, 2018, and will represent Iowa State in the national competition.

Registration is limited to the first 30 ISU students to apply.

What else is happening?


St. Louis-based Gremlin Social, a social media marketing solution featuring the only American Bankers Association-endorsed compliance tools, recently acquired two companies as part of its strategic expansion. –Silicon Prairie News


Avid Ratings, a Madison WI-based real estate software company that has been operating since 1992 but is now seeking to fuel its growth with cash from venture capital investors, says it has raised $6 million as part of a Series A funding round. –Xconomy


A University of Chicago biotechnology startup is closer to developing a first-of-its-kind drug to prevent kidney stones thanks to $2.3 million from the National Institutes of Health. Oxalo Therapeutics was founded in February by Dr. Hatim Hassan, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and Yang Zheng, a student at the university’s Booth School of Business. –Chicago Business

Middle Bit: Multiple student startup events happening in October | 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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