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Middle Bit: Holmes Murphy launches company focused on workplace culture

Insurance brokerage Holmes Murphy announced it has launched a new company, EthOs. The new company will focus on improving workplace culture, engagement with multigenerational staff and addressing all aspects of an employee’s total well-being.

EthOs will be led by Ali Payne, an organizational engagement and culture expert who joined Holmes Murphy earlier this year.

The company’s goal “is to ensure the whole employee comes to work every day by helping our clients build a culture that empowers and motivates their biggest asset — their talent,” Payne said in a news release. “Research shows employees who are engaged stay with their employer longer, achieve higher productivity, and drive the organization forward.”

droneSAR rebrands to Sigma0

West Des Moines agtech startup droneSAR has rebranded to Sigma0 as the company looks to expand beyond drone services,.

Still in its startup phase, the new name symbolizes the many possibilities for the application of Sigma0’s crop technology beyond just drone technology for enabling a future of sustainable agriculture.

“We are a company developing insights about crops using radar technology. Our sensors support aerial and ground based platforms, not just drones, so it was vital to choose a new name that reflects the possibilities of our technology applications to allow us to grow,” said Alan Langman, CEO and founder of. “In addition to our sensor capabilities, our cloud-based agriculture analytics platform supports radar data from multiple sources, including satellites and moisture sensors in the ground.” 

KemPharm painkiller now Apadaz available nationwide

Coralville-based specialty pharmaceutical company KemPharm has announced that its prodrug painkiller, APADAZ, and its authorized generic, AG-APADAZ, are now available nationally through a licensing deal with pharma manufacturer KVK-Tech. 

APADAZ is intended for the short-term management of acute pain severe enough to require opioids.

KemPharm President and CEO Travis Mickle said in a release that health plans and payers continue to evaluate the product’s “formulary placement,” or positioning within their lists of prescription drugs approved for reimbursement.

He said several large national health plans, as well as state Medicaid plans in Alabama and Utah, have already added AG-APADAZ to their preferred drug lists. 

KemPharm’s other prodrug product candidates are focused on the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and stimulant use disorder.

1 Comment

  • Abhishek Matkar
    Posted November 16, 2019 at 11:13 am

    How do you create high-performance culture in your organization?
    Even though organizations globally aim to understand what drives their employees’ performance through multiple performance management tools, it has unfortunately help them to only map out ‘what’ leaders and team members aim to achieve, and does not lay emphasis on the ‘how’ and the intangible factors that influence employees’ performance.
    Read our blog to know more about what drives effective performance management-

Comments are closed.

Middle Bit: Holmes Murphy launches company focused on workplace culture | 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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