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Dwolla announces Monetery 2019

Monetery, a Midwest tech summit hosted by Dwolla, will be expanded for its second year and held in Des Moines on May 21 and 22, 2019.

The two-day event will provide opportunities for inventors and creators to hear from and interact with venture capitalists, angel investors and business leaders from around the United States. The goal of the conference is to create and maintain a tech ecosystem in the Midwest.

“All of the opportunity is here,” Ben Milne, Dwolla founder and CEO said in the announcement. “We have the resources, we have the ingenuity, we are starting to have the infrastructure. As companies are beginning to divest in places like Silicon Valley, there is no reason why the Midwest can’t fill that gap. And if there is a reason, it’s that Midwesterners don’t realize it’s possible. That’s what Monetery is for.”

Steph Atkin, VP of Marketing at Dwolla, says expanding Monetery, which held its first conference in 2018, will allow for more coverage of topics facing the Midwest tech ecosystem.

“The topics we’ll be covering have everything to do with ways the Midwest can lead the nation in the most pressing issues in the tech world,” Atkin said. “We will have sessions about Seed fundraising, IPO, diversity and inclusion—all the things that create a competitive ecosystem. And we’re adding speakers and sessions as we get closer to May 21.”

The event will be held in downtown Des Moines at the Temple for Performing Arts.

In 2018, Monetery raised more than $10,000 for Pi515, an organization that teaches computer coding to Iowa’s underserved population, particularly refugee 7th-12th graders in central Iowa.

Monetery 2019 will continue to be a funding engine for programs that provide financial support dedicated to underrepresented groups in technology.

The 2018 conference was limited to 200 people and Atkin says that this year’s registration will be similarly exclusive.

“To start a conversation, you need to be able to hear each other,” says Atkin. “Monetery is very much for serious believers in the Midwest who want to collaborate with others on how we can bring the region closer to its full potential. Intimacy and real dialogue are essential.”

Registration for Monetery 2019 will open in early 2019 with speakers and agenda items being added continuously until the conference opens in May.

Previous Coverage

Monetery: Growing the Midwest startup ecosystem –March 20, 2018

Dwolla announces Monetery 2019 | 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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