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RosterApps acquired by Ohio software company ARCOS

West Des Moines-based RosterApps, a provider of airline ground crew scheduling software was recently acquired by ARCOS, a software company in Columbus, Ohio.

The acquisition will combine RosterApps’ airline experience and shiftwork technology with the ARCOS resource management platform to fully automate the scheduling, shift-trading, callout and tracking of flight and ground crew staff.

ARCOS will retain RosterApps Iowa office and employees, bringing ARCOS’s workforce to more than 100 people.

“Looking at the airline industry, we discovered airlines struggled at using all sorts of using manual ways of keeping track of who’s available for what,” said Bruce Duff, CEO of ARCOS. “And we thought, well, we can go into that space ourselves, but let’s see if there’s already someone there that’s doing a great job to compliment what we’re doing for pilots and flight attendants.”

“The technology was a good fit because we both provide SaaS solutions that help the airline industry streamline resource management, said John Brant, Managing Director of RosterApps. “ARCOS was expanding its presence in the airline industry, which is where RosterApps has made its reputation. After seeing ARCOS’s solution for scheduling airline flight crews, it was obvious we had a lot of synergy. I especially felt that adding ARCOS’s crew callout technology to RosterApps would create a lot of value for the airline ground crews we serve.”

Culture plays an important role in acquisitions

Successful acquisitions are not always about forcing a company to fit the acquiring company’s mold. It’s a mutual learning opportunity, Duff told Clay & Milk.

“Culture fit is important. They matched our culture and I think anytime you have someone who matches your culture, it’s an opportunity to improve because you’re going to see some ways that they’re doing things that we never thought of and will adopt and vice-versa,” Duff said. “If you don’t have the right culture, everything you think you’re getting technology-wise often doesn’t go as well.”

“In terms of culture, I went into the first meeting fairly skeptical because, being small, we depended on our customer-focused culture to keep us on the path to success.  ARCOS also believed success came only when clients were successful.  So I could tell they worked as a team and had a mutual respect for one another within their organization,” Brant said.

RosterApps acquired by Ohio software company ARCOS | 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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