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Middle Bit: Manchester Story leads $9.1 million round in healthcare startup

Santa Monica-based healthcare startup Anagram has announced a $9.1 million Series A financing round led by West Des Moines-based ManchesterStory.

In a move to rebrand the company, Anagram is expanding its payment solution software to healthcare companies in the United States. Established in 2014 as Patch, the company now has a growing team of 96 employees, offering streamlined and real-time insurance or payment processing.

Other participants in the funding round include Waterline Ventures, CareCredit, Rogue Venture Partners, Launchpad Digital Health, KEC Ventures, and Healthy Ventures.

Applications open for Ames Seed Capital pitch events

Ames Seed Capital will be hosting a number of events on Tuesday, April 21, designed to encourage, support, and spotlight entrepreneurship in the development of new ideas and the formation of start-up enterprises in Iowa.

Surrounding the Ames Seed Capital Annual Meeting are two presentation opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital—the Entrepreneur Showcase in the morning and the Pitch Competition in the afternoon.  Ames Seed Capital is currently looking for presenters for both events.

Entrepreneur Showcase (9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)  

The Entrepreneur Showcase is tailored toward more established start-ups seeking significant investment. The Showcase will give these more developed companies the opportunity to present their businesses to investors (angels, seed capital groups, or early-stage venture capital) from Iowa and the Midwest.  A number of presentations will take place from these early stage companies seeking funding based on the applications received to participate in the event. 

Pitch Competition (1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)  

The Pitches will be held following the Annual Luncheon Meeting.  The event is open to entrepreneurs who are just starting to put together their ideas and are not ready for “prime time” angel, seed, or very early stage venture capital.  We are inviting individuals/groups who would like the opportunity to “pitch” their ideas in front of a friendly crowd and take questions from the audience.   

Prize money will be awarded to both Showcase and Pitch Competition winners.  To apply for the Showcase and/or the Pitch Competition, click here. Applications are due by March 22.

Nonprofits announced for dsmHack 2020

dsmHack has announced the 11 Des Moines-area nonprofits that will benefit from nearly 100 developers and designers volunteering through the annual Des Moines Charity Hackathon.

The 48-hour hackathon will help local nonprofit organizations solve technology problems they’re facing. The event connects technology enthusiasts including developers, designers, and project managers and partners them with nonprofits selected through an application process.

The nonprofits were narrowed from 31 initial submissions and will receive free assistance for digital projects pitched to the event volunteers during a 48-hour hackathon, which began Thursday evening.

This year’s nonprofits are:

  • Anawin Housing
  • Back 2 School Iowa
  • Des Moines Area Religious Council
  • Des Moines Heritage Trust
  • Iowa C.O.R.E. Inc.
  • Justice League of Food
  • One Heart Equestrian Therapy, Parenting Way Inc.
  • Please Pass the Love
  • Pursuit of Innovation (Pi515)
  • Wonder Years Academy.
Middle Bit: Manchester Story leads $9.1 million round in healthcare startup | 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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