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Polished: A configurable markdown editor for writers

When software engineer Ryan Wilson dove into the world of writing he quickly discovered that there were no apps on the market that offered good editing tools and were also community-based.

“I started looking at a bunch of different apps out there built around some aspect of writing. All of them kind of did one thing really well but then were lacking in a bunch of other areas,” said Wilson.”I joined a write-every-day community where you write 300 words a day and get streaks. That social aspect was incredible for being motivated to write. But the tooling built around it was pretty bad. You couldn’t go back and edit and couldn’t do any sort of formatting. It was just a really limited experience.” –

Last year, Wilson created Polished, an online canvas similar to a design tool, built specifically for writing.

Through Polished Documents and rich media will be able to be moved around in any direction. The canvas can be navigated using zoom and pan using pinch and drag gestures.

“I just started to have this idea that this would be a really great medium for writing because design tools aren’t really built for writing, they’re not very good for it,” said Wilson. “If you could just make Word or Google Docs on a design canvas where you can just have a bunch of documents and lay them out and create a virtual workspace.”

Wilson says he plans to make the app very configurable. “A user will be able to control every tiny aspect of the editor itself. You’ll be able to configure every key that you hit and how things look on the editor.”

Going forward, Wilson plans to slowly implement community into the app as well.

“I want to work in these other ideas of having different communities built into the app along with having a really great editor that allows formatting and helps you with grammar,” said Wilson. “That way you can focus on just writing content.”

Polished: A configurable markdown editor for writers | 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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