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Middle Bit: NewBoCo Launch Day will celebrate 2018 accomplishments

NewBoCo Launch Day will take place Tuesday, December 11, at Theatre Cedar Rapids. Launch Day is NewBoCo’s annual event that celebrates accomplishments in entrepreneurship, innovation, and tech education in Iowa.

NewBoCo Launch Day will feature pitches from Iowa Startup Accelerator portfolio companies and Social Good Accelerator teams, highlights from Intrapreneur Academy, and a progress report from NewBoCo’s Iowa partnership.

This year, NewBoCo Launch Day will focus on the following three topics:

  • Growing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
  • New Kinds of Innovators
  • Computer Science for Iowa

“Launch Day is our chance to really thank our sponsors, donors, investors, partners, mentors, students, and startups for their dedication to our mission,” NewBoCo COO Aaron Horn said. “We want to show them the impact we’ve made this year because of their support.”

Admission to the event is free.

What else is happening?


Nutrien, a publicly traded Canadian fertilizer company and the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, acquired Champaign, Illinois based startup Agrible for $63 million on August 1. The deal marks an important gain for Nutrien toward growing its retail business and delivering customers the best products, services, and agronomy advice. –Silicon Prairie News


KCSourceLink announced on Wednesday that they have been awarded a second grant to continue its work as a University Center Economic Development Program to spur entrepreneurship, economic growth and job creation. –Silicon Prairie News


Enable Injections disclosed today that the company has completed a first closing of a Series B round that raised more than $40 million, one of the largest investments in a Cincinnati company ever made by venture capitalists. Evendale-based Enable said the investment was led by Sanofi, the Paris-based pharmaceutical company. It’s the world’s third-largest pharma firm based on sales of $39.5 billion. –Cincinnati Business Courier


Middle Bit: NewBoCo Launch Day will celebrate 2018 accomplishments | 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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