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Middle Bit: ManchesterStory invests in Rollick

ManchesterStorya Des Moines-based venture capital firm for companies in the InsurTech, FinTech and Healthcare Sector, recently took part in an investment in Rollick.

Since launching in February of 2017, ManchesterStory has invested in seven companies and expects to invest in another 15-20 companies over the next five years.

Rollick, the first affinity buying program and enterprise lead management solution for the powersports, RV, marine and industrial equipment industries, raised $8.3M in their Series A funding round. LiveOak Venture Partners and Anthem Venture Partners added to the round as well.

What else is happening?


A blockchain-enabled solution from Venture360, called Liquifi, aims to unfreeze startups paralyzed by a lack of access to capital, Rachael Qualls said with excitement. Part of a three-tier plan, executed over the past 12 years — a span that has included the launch of Angel Investor Group and Venture360 — Liquifi technology allows companies to solve capital’s “final frontier.” It’s a disruptive opportunity to build and control companies’ own private stock exchanges, initiate a capital raise, verify investors’ identities, execute closing documents, collect payments, and issue security tokens. –Startland News


Seven years ago, a group of community organizers gathered to map out the first Lincoln Startup Week. It has since become an annual event that continues to grow and mature. This year, Lincoln Startup Week runs October 22nd through 26th in locations throughout the city. –Silicon Prairie News


On October 10, 2018, Understory, the Madison, Wisconsin based weather company, filed paperwork with the SEC recording a $6.5 million dollar raise. The company which relocated from Somerville, Massachusetts in 2016 provides real-time weather microgrids that help provide accurate information for geo-specific places. This technology can be used by insurance carriers to better understand localized weather risk associated with crop to household insurance claims. –Silicon Prairie News

Previous coverage

ManchesterStory: An update for 2018 –March 15, 2018



Middle Bit: ManchesterStory invests in Rollick | 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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