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2020 Prometheus Awards Winners

Fifteen awards were given out Iowa companies this week honoring the growth and achievement companies, communities, and organizations in the state have made over the last year.

The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) announced three winners each morning this week as part of Prometheus Awards Week. Typically, the Prometheus Awards take place in April as a one-night event. This year, the ceremony transitioned into a fully virtual weeklong event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds proclaimed June 22 – 26 as Technology Week in Iowa, in conjunction with this year’s Prometheus Awards Week.

Here is the list of the 2020 Prometheus Awards winners:

AgTech/BioTech Company of the Year: Rantizo

FinTech/InsureTech Company of the Year: Lincoln Savings Bank

Manufacturing Technology Company of the Year: Cemen Tech

Startup Technology Company of the Year: Tractor Zoom

Software Development Company of the Year: HyVee

IT Service Provider of the Year: ProCircular

Best Technology Company Culture: SciPlay

Creative Technology Solution of the Year: UnityPoint Health

Technology Community of the Year: City of Jefferson

Emerging Technology Leader of the Year: Lana Fox, ClinicNote Inc.

CEO of the Year: Cliff Smith, Global VetLink (GVL)

CIO/CTO/CISO of the Year: Michelle Bates, Involta LLC

LWBJ Impact Award: Brian Waller, Technology Association of Iowa

Technology Company of the Year – Small/Medium Award: Performance Livestock Analytics

Workiva Large Technology Company of the Year Award: HyVee

2020 Prometheus Awards Winners | 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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