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DashJet offers custom, flexible jet travel

DashJet, a new jet brokerage based in Ankeny, is looking to modernize the jet brokerage industry by providing customized travel services.

Despite there being a growing amount of jet brokerages in the country over the last decade, the majority of them offer rigid, one-size-fits-all services.

DashJet’s platform allows you to design a fixed-rate, guaranteed availability jet card based on your specific needs.

“Most jet brokerages are not necessarily sophisticated when it comes to a branding model. They are still expecting companies to flex towards their brand,” said Frank Maher, CEO of DashJet. “And for most people, that’s not how the world works anymore. Really, the way our commerce-based society works now is that people want the brand to start flexing towards them.”

Maher started at DashJet as a consultant earlier this year before becoming CEO of the company in November.

Since launching, DashJet is already closing in on one million dollars in revenue, Maher told Clay & Milk.

“Every single customer we’ve intersected so far, we’ve actually designed their DashJet Card program around them and their needs,” Maher said.

DashJet also offers “DashJet Direct,” a service that allows customers to have direct access to their own flight operation person.

“Ultimately, the goal is two-pronged, ” Maher said. “To establish DashJet as a major entity within the jet brokerage world. Secondly, there are other opportunities from a technology perspective that are significant in this industry. There are a lot of platforms being used that are not optimal. Making them more efficient is ultimately an output of what we’re doing internally to make DashJet efficient.”

DashJet offers custom, flexible jet travel | 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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