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Middle Bit: Hatchlings Game Jam set for June 14-16

Hatchling second annual Game Jam will take place June 14 -16 at Gravitate Coworking Downtown.

Beginning Friday night, game designers can begin to brainstorm game ideas relating to a theme. Then, over the course of the next 36 hours, attendees will collaborate and network to design and build their own game.

While this event is a great opportunity for professional developers and designers, participants do not need to have any professional experience in gaming or related industries to participate.

Registration for the event is free.

What else is happening?

Denim named one of 20 Most Promising Digital Marketing Solution Providers

Denim, has been named one of the 20 Most Promising Digital Marketing Solution Providers of 2019 by CIO Review magazine.

The 20 most promising digital marketing solution providers were selected by a distinguished panel of CEOs, CIOs, and analysts including CIO Review’s editorial board.

“Every day at Denim, we work to make marketing personal, at scale. Whether for a Fortune 500 multi-location financial services company, a community bank, or a credit union, we’re proud to provide an intelligent marketing automation platform that drives our customers’ success in two areas: decreasing customer acquisition costs and improving customer retention,” said Gregory Bailey, CEO and founder of Denim.

ClearFlame Engines receives $200,000 SBIR Grant

ClearFlame Engines has received a $200,000 SBIR Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In total, the Department of Energy will award 231 grants totaling $46 million to 202 small businesses in 39 states.

Successful Phase I grantees will be eligible to apply for Phase II awards in fiscal year 2020 that will allow them to develop novel prototypes or processes to validate their Phase I research findings.

Middle Bit: Hatchlings Game Jam set for June 14-16 | 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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