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BrokerTech Ventures announces five new investor partners

BrokerTech Ventures has announced the addition of five new investor partners to the accelerator—Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Inc., The Horton Group, Inc., IMA Financial Group, MJ Insurance, and Woodruff Sawyer.

BrokerTech also announced the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer, Susan Hatten, who previously served as the BTV interim executive director during the formation of the accelerator.

“The addition of these five agencies adds more than $750 million to our existing distribution platform, equating to more than $2.1 billion among all 14 of our investor partners,” said Dan Keough, Holmes Murphy CEO. “These new investor partners view innovation through the same lens as we do at BrokerTech Ventures, and as our leadership team continues to solidify with Susan Hatten stepping in full-time as COO, this is the perfect time to bring in new partners and sponsors. We could not be more excited to have Susan’s vision and energies directing our business operations at this important point in our growth timeline.”

The newly-announced investor partners and sponsors join the current owners—Holmes Murphy, M3 Insurance, PayneWest Insurance, ABD Insurance & Financial Services, Conner Strong & Buckelew, Assurance, Graham Company, InterWest Insurance Services, and Hylant Insurance.

“From a whiteboard concept in May 2019 to our brand launch at InsureTech Connect in September of last year, it has been an absolutely incredible and fast-paced adventure in building BrokerTech Ventures alongside Dan Keough, Mike Victorson, Ellen Willadsen, and all of our owners and partners,” said Hatten. “I am honored and impassioned by the opportunity to continue to create value for BrokerTech Ventures and our stakeholders.”

Previous coverage

BrokerTech Ventures announces 12 startups for 2020 cohort -Feb. 26, 2020

BrokerTech Ventures announces five new investor partners | 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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