Middle Bit: Businesses encouraged to complete IEDA Survey to better understand impact of COVID-19

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is asking Iowa businesses to complete this survey to tell them what your business is experiencing and how your business is handling the current crisis.

IEDA will use the information collected in this survey to inform its public policy in response to the crisis, as well as potential assistance to businesses.

The deadline to complete this survey is Monday, March 23 at 5 pm.

John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition to Once Again Award $100,000 in Cash Prizes

Applications for the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Venture Competition are now being accepted. The fifteenth annual statewide competition will be awarding $100,000 in cash prizes. The $100,000 in seed funding consists of a $50,000 contribution from John and Mary Pappajohn and a $50,000 match from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The goal of this competition is to support Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Iowa businesses that have been in operation for four years or less, or are not yet cash flow positive are eligible to apply. This competition is open to businesses including, but not limited to, technology, bio- technology, green technologies, medical, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, engineering, and education industries. 

Participants will be judged on written submissions, and, those who advance to the final round of the competition, will present to a panel of judges. First place will be awarded $40,000, second place $25,000, and third place $15,000. Awards for other categories will total $20,000. 

Applications for the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Venture Competition are due Monday, May 18, 2020. 

Secretary Pate pledges $1 million to assist counties with cybersecurity

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced a plan last week to provide $1 million to Iowa counties to assist them with cybersecurity resources ahead of the 2020 elections. Pate made the pledge today during an annual gathering of Iowa’s county auditors.

During the next few weeks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Iowa’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) will conduct scans of all 99 counties’ websites and internal systems. Following those scans, the Secretary of State’s Office will make an initial investment of $1 million to help cover the expenses of recommended upgrades. Almost every Iowa county already receives at least three cyber-services from the OCIO, including training, intrusion detection, and malware prevention.

Secretary Pate is also helping counties transition their websites to .gov domains. This step will ensure the all 99 counties’ websites have top level security. The Secretary of State’s Office will cover the cost for counties to make the transition. The Department of Homeland Security recommends all government entities utilize the .gov domain for their websites, and the National Association of Secretaries of State adopted a similar resolution last month.

The funding to assist counties with cybersecurity services comes from a federal grant to Iowa through the Help America Vote Act.

b.well Connected Health raises $16M in Series A funding

Baltimore’s b.well Connected Health raised $16 million in its Series A investment round, and is looking to grow its team.

The round was led by Des Moines-based UnityPoint Health Ventures, which is the venture capital arm of Iowa-based hospital and clinic network UnityPoint Health. Participants also included Wisconsin-based community health system ThedaCare and Well Ventures, which is a subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance. It brings the company’s total venture funding to more than $27 million.

b.well has worked with organizations such as employers, payers, health systems and providers — categories which are represented among the investors in the round and whom Valdes said are invested in population health as a result of shifts in healthcare. It allows them to offer a front-end mobile platform to consumers that manages all of their healthcare in one place. This provides the digital tools that provide access to data from many different sources in one place. And with a digitally-based mindset that prizes choice, it allows new tools to be added and subtracted without consumers needing to download a new app, as well.