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Gravitate holding “Intro to the Des Moines Startup Scene”

Gravitate Coworking will be hosting Intro to the Des Moines Startup Scene this Wednesday with Geoff Wood, founder and owner of Gravitate Coworking.

Wednesday evening, Wood will give a presentation sharing information about local accelerators, investors, incubators, advisors and other local resources for those interested in learning more about Des Moines’ startup ecosystem.

“The goal is to inform people about the startup community in Des Moines and throughout Iowa,” said Wood. “When I moved back to Des Moines in 2009, I was hoping to find an event like this that would help me figure out where I could best plug in. I didn’t find it then, and after seeing ‘Intro’ talks like this in other cities like Austin and Madison, I decided to create it.”

Wood is a local community builder and has been helping grow the Des Moines entrepreneurial ecosystem for the last decade.

“The information I share is pretty much my accumulated knowledge of 10+ years of being a part of our startup community,” said Wood. “My hope is that everyone who attends will be able to take away something to help them on their journey. I used to relay a lot of this info 1-on-1 over coffee with folks who would get referred to me—doing this as a sort of class makes it easier and quicker to get the info out to more people.”

Following the presentation will be a Q&A with Wood and John Jackovin, where attendees will have the chance to ask the two any questions they have. Jackovin is a serial entrepreneur and is the Sr. Product Manager at Dwolla.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour Gravitate’s new downtown location. While this is the fourth time Wood has given this presentation, it will be the first time for the event to be held in the new downtown location.

The event will take place from 5 -7 pm on Wednesday night. Tickets to the event are available now.

Geoff Wood is also the co-founder and Publisher of Clay & Milk.

Gravitate holding "Intro to the Des Moines Startup Scene" | 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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