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West Des Moines companies partner to create marketing collective

A group of West Des Moines-based companies has partnered to create Anthologic, a collective of specialized marketing and technology companies.

The specialist companies that are part of Anthologic include:

  • Performance Marketing — A marketing agency that helps companies reinvent the way they connect with customers through branding, communications and digital experiences.
  • Shift — A software and technology company that brings innovative ideas to life by creating digital products, web and mobile platforms, emerging technology and custom-built software.
  • Blue Traffic — A search marketing specialist that maximizes online visibility for clients through search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).
  • Vector Haus — An animation studio that engages audiences with rich storytelling through motion graphics, video and photography.

The four companies will continue to operate independently but, through Anthologic, will be able to work together with clients to solve more complex business and marketing challenges.

“Although each company has a niche set of expertise, we all share a common viewpoint of curiosity and eagerness to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations,” said Kevin Lentz, CEO and founder of Anthologic. “This means we match our specialties to the objectives with purpose and intention. We fit in where our clients need us, but will always have access to the right resources when the challenge calls for bigger, more integrated solutions.”

Along with the new announcement, there are several other company updates, including:

  • New brands for all companies under Anthologic. A complete company rebrand includes the creation of the Anthologic brand and new logos and websites for all companies under Anthologic — Performance Marketing, Shift, Blue Traffic and Vector Haus. These new updates create a stronger visual connection that better represents the collective.
  • Expansion to a second location. Anthologic has established a Twin Cities presence through a Performance Marketing office in St. Paul, Minnesota. The opening of the St. Paul office as a home base for Performance Marketing employees was a strategic decision to support key clientele in the Twin Cities.
West Des Moines companies partner to create marketing collective | 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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