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6C Solutions is bringing modern analytics technology to the chemical plant industry

This story is part of a series that will look at and profile each of the six startups in NewBoCo’s Fall 2018 accelerator programs.

After working as both a chemical engineering intern and as a data consultant, Keerthan Vantakala noticed a large gap between what many technology companies were doing for their analytics and what the chemical plants were doing.

In July of this year, he founded 6C Solutions, an analytics startup that offers data analytics consulting and app-building services to chemical plants.

“In the past five years, there has been a huge movement in using machine learning and artificial intelligence to optimize the processes these companies are doing,” Vantakala said. “I’ve worked in advertising tech and there are a ton of models that fuel all these ads. Essentially, we want to use some of those same techniques for chemical plants.”

6C Solutions is currently focused on ethanol plants with plans to expand into other types of chemical plants including wastewater treatment plants and distilleries.

“Chemical plants are very data rich. They’ve been storing all this data for a very long time,” Vantakala said. “That makes exploring these various machine learning algorithms a lot easier since they already have a lot of data.”

6C Solutions is one of four companies participating in the 2018 fall cohort of the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

“I’ve been in the accelerator for about three weeks now, and it’s been great so far. It really puts into focus what I’ve been working on,” Vantakala said. They’ve been great at pushing me to go meet with clients and do a lot of customer discovery early on to see what is really want, which has been very helpful.”

6C Solutions is bringing modern analytics technology to the chemical plant industry | 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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