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Middle Bit: Biotech Innovation Showcase announces 12 showcase companies

The Iowa Biotechnology Association has announced 12 companies that will be showcased at the annual Partnering for Growth’s Biotech Innovation Showcase set to take place on April 30.

One company will be selected at the end of presentations to receive a $5,000 prize. The 12 presenting companies are:

  • 3D Health Solutions, Inc. (Ames, Iowa)
  • Cardio Diagnostics LLC (Coralville, Iowa)
  • Clara Biotech (Lawrence, Kansas)
  • ClearFlame Engines (Woodridge, Illinois)
  • Emmyon, Inc. (Coralville, Iowa)
  • EnGeniousAg, LLC (Ames, Iowa)
  • Healthy Cow (Toronto, ON)
  • NanoSpy, Inc. (Ames, Iowa)
  • OmniLife, Inc. (Coralville, Iowa)
  • Rantizo, Inc. (Iowa City, Iowa)
  • VerdiLife LLC (Iowa City, Iowa)
  • Voxello (Coralville, Iowa)

Pinterest has reportedly filed for an IPO that could value the company at $12 billion

Pinterest, the social media site where people pin images and seek inspiration, has confidentially filed to go public, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company is seeking to go public around June at a valuation of at least $12 billion, according to The Journal.

Pinterest was last valued at $12.3 billion in a 2017 funding round.

The company was founded in 2008 by Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra. Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, is a Des Moines native.

Applications now open for Iowa JPEC Business Model Competition

The Iowa JPEC Business Model Competition is set to take place March 26 – 27, 2019. The Business Model Competition will allow students from the University Iowa to present their business to judges for the opportunity to win prize money

The competition is based on the methodology of the Business Model Canvas, and requires that companies tell their story beginning from the idea stage, including pivots along the way. Participants will provide a brief overview of their startup’s story from the initial idea to the current stage of the startup.

A total of $50,000 in cash prizes will be awarded throughout the two-day competition.

Day 1 of the competition is for early-stage companies who have not received revenue or won more than $1,000 in business competitions. The winner of Day 1 will advance to compete in day 2.

Winners of day two of the competition will qualify to compete in two additional business competitions: the International Business Model Competition and the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition.

Applications are due by March 20.

Middle Bit: Biotech Innovation Showcase announces 12 showcase companies | 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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