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Iowa City startup is Helping Match Physicians with Local Jobs

Jon Lensing, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Iowa, is well aware of the doctor shortage in the U.S. According to a 2019 study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. will see a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032.

“It’s kind of been drilled into our brain since the first year of medical school that there’s a huge shortage of doctors and it’s having massive effects on the population’s health,” said Lensing. “Hospitals are closing because they can’t get the services they need. Patients aren’t getting access to the medical services they require.”

So Lensing, along with a group of others are working to start something they believe could revolutionize patient care.

Together they’ve created Apollo, an internet-based hiring platform designed to help match healthcare facilities requiring temporary positions with healthcare providers in order to help ensure all needed services are available at their location. 

“The whole idea is to utilize the already existing population of doctors, make them more transferrable between hospital systems so they can cover those needing shifts and their local surrounding areas,” said Lensing.

Apollo began beta testing its platform about one month ago and plans to run the beta test for three months. Right now, Apollo has more than 60 Iowan physicians enrolled, one hospital signed on and is currently in discussion with multiple other hospitals

“To enroll, you create an online profile where they can house all their case logs, credentials, letters of reference in one single spot,” said Lensing. “And on the flip side, it allows hospitals, private practices, clinics and urgent care centers to go in and post a temporary job need they have.”

They hope to release the platform publicly around June, Lensing told Clay & Milk.

Iowa City startup is Helping Match Physicians with Local Jobs | 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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