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Middle Bit: NewBoCo announces lineup for Launch Day

NewBoCo has announced the speakers who will present at Launch Day on December 11.

Launch Day is NewBoCo’s annual event that celebrates accomplishments in entrepreneurship, innovation, and tech education in Iowa.

Eric Hanson, Host of Z102.9’s “The Morning Scramble”, will voice the event by helping weave together the NewBoCo stories of education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

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

Launch Day will highlight:

  • Jason Logan, DeltaV 2017 graduate
  • Osage Community Schools, NewBoCo Partnership
  • Adam Kaas, Intrapreneur Academy – Rockwell Collins
  • Leslie Wright, Intrapreneur Academy – United Way of East Central Iowa
  • SwineTech, Iowa Startup Accelerator 2015 Cohort
  • STRATAFOLIO, Iowa Startup Accelerator 2016 Cohort
  • Cargofy, Iowa Startup Accelerator 2017 Cohort
  • Center for Active Seniors (Abbe Health), Social Good Accelerator Inaugural Cohort
  • Class Composer, Iowa Startup Accelerator 2018 Cohort
  • Rantizo, Iowa Startup Accelerator 2018 Cohort
  • Member Marketplace, Iowa Startup Accelerator 2018 Cohort
  • Kepler Learning (formerly Project BBQ), Iowa Startup Accelerator 2018 Cohort
  • GSI Works, Social Good Accelerator Inaugural Cohort
  • Eric Engelmann, NewBoCo

“Launch Day is our annual opportunity to really celebrate the big wins for Iowa’s startups, innovators, and tech educators and students,” NewBoCo Chief Operating Officer Aaron Horn said. “I am really excited to hear everyone on the Launch Day stage share their Iowa impact success stories.”

Admission to the event is free. You can reserve your ticket here.

What else is happening?


Cameo, the company that lets you order a custom video shoutout from an ever-growing list of celebrities, raised $12.5 million in a funding round led by Menlo Park’s Lightspeed Venture Partners, with additional contributions from Chicago Ventures, Starting Line, Origin Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Bedrock Capital and others. –Built In Chicago


Fourstarzz Media, a Lincoln-based influencer marketing startup, has had a busy year. Among other things, the company has closed a $750,000 round of pre-seed capital investment, been accepted into the Forbes Agency Council(invitation only), and been named as one of ten influencer marketing firms worldwide in the Gartner Marketing Technology Vendor Guide for 2018. –Silicon Prairie News


Understory, a Madison, Wisconsin-based weather analytics company, announced today that it has raised $7.5 million in new funding. The round is led by local venture capital firm 4490 Ventures, an existing investor in the company. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund also joined the round. Other existing investors in Understory include Monsanto Growth Ventures and Silicon Valley-based True Ventures. –VentureBeat

Middle Bit: NewBoCo announces lineup for Launch Day | 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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