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TAI announces 2020 Iowa Technology Roadshow

The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) has announced its first-ever Iowa Technology Roadshow, which will travel to 10 rural communities across the state throughout 2020.

“The Iowa Technology Roadshow will influence and elevate Iowa’s technology industry, professionals, and businesses all across Iowa,” said Brian Waller, President of TAI in a release. “TAI believes that all companies are technology companies and that’s why we are proud to bring Iowa technology industry experts to ten Iowa communities.”

TAI is partnering with local economic development and chamber organizations across the state to customize each panel for each community. The IT Roadshow will have a spring and fall tour. Scheduled stops include:

Spring Schedule

  • April 27: Burlington, Iowa (Greater Burlington Partnership)
  • April 28: Ottumwa, Iowa (Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation)
  • April 29: Grinnell, Iowa (Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce)
  • April 30: Indianola, Iowa (Indianola Chamber of Commerce)
  • May 1: Council Bluffs, Iowa (Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce)

Fall Schedule

  • October 19, 2020: Decorah, Iowa
  • October 20, 2020: Waverly, Iowa (Waverly Chamber of Commerce)
  • October 21, 2020: Fort Dodge, Iowa (Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance)
  • October 22, 2020: Spencer, Iowa (Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation) 
  • October 23, 2020: Sioux City, Iowa (Siouxland Chamber of Commerce) 

“We are excited to partner with the Technology Association of Iowa and bring the Iowa Technology Roadshow to Spencer and the Iowa Lakes Corridor Region,” said Kiley Miller, President & CEO of Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation. “We look forward to engaging with Iowa technology leaders and it’s always fun to brag about the high-tech companies in this region of the state.” 

TAI announces 2020 Iowa Technology Roadshow | 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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