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Ames Seed Capital Event set for April 23

Ames Seed Capital will hold their annual Entrepreneur Showcase and Pitch Competition on Tuesday, April 23.

This year’s event, which will take place at The Gateway Hotel in Ames, will be held in three main segments:

  • Entrepreneur Showcase (9am-11am).
  • Luncheon and Annual Meeting (11am-2pm).
  • Pitch Competition (1pm-3pm)

The Entrepreneur Showcase is tailored toward established companies seeking significant investment. The showcase will give more developed companies the opportunity to present their business to investors from Iowa.

Between the main events, Ames Seed Capital will hold their Annual Meeting & Luncheon to recognize investors and review 2018 accomplishments.  The theme of this year’s event is “Universities/Communities/Entrepreneurs – Adding Value to Iowa” with keynote remarks from the Presidents of the Iowa Regent Universities.

The Pitch Competition is tailored more toward early-stage companies that have participated strictly in other pitch competitions and prize money of at least $2,500 will be presented to the top pitch’s.

With each of the Regent presidents representing Iowa State, University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa in attendance, the event looks forward to bringing in students from across the state.

Ames Seed Capital is still accepting applications for entrepreneurs to apply to present at the pitch and showcase. The deadline to apply is January 31.

The attendance fee for the Annual Meeting & Luncheon will be $40.00 per person or $400.00 for a table of ten while the Pitch Competition and Entrepreneur Showcase are open to all and free of charge.  Registrations for attending any of these events will open in early February.

Ames Seed Capital Event set for April 23 | 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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