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DevOpsDays Conference coming back to Des Moines

On May 2nd and 3rd, Des Moines will be hosting its second annual DevOpsDays Conference at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.

DevOpsDays is a two-day conference where everyone in the DevOps community can meet to meet others to discuss DevOps practices and trends.

“This year we planned for almost double the capacity and we’re looking for significant growth this year,” said John Sonneville, organizer of the event. “We’re hoping to sell out again. Right now, we’ve still got some tickets left and are looking to sell the rest of those to make it another successful year.”

Between 400 and 500 people are expected to attend this year’s conference, Sonneville told Clay & Milk.

“We’ve got speakers from the local area as well as outside the Des Moines area,” Sonneville said. “We’ll have three rooms so there’s a choice of session for each slot. We do have some shorter talk that people will be doing.”

The conference currently has 23 speakers slated to speak throughout the conference.

This year’s conference will expand upon last year’s conference which was solely focused on the technical side of software development.

“Last year was purely a technical track. This year, we’re really trying to branch out more to the business side of things so we will have a business track as well,” Sonneville said.

Tickets to the conference are now available for $200.

DevOpsDays Conference coming back to Des Moines | 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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