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MākuSafe raises $4 million round as it begins to deploy its safety technology nationwide

West Des Moines-based MākuSafe has successfully closed a $4 million round which the company will use to grow its team and scale as it begins to deploy its wearable safety technology.

More than 3/4 of the round came from previous investors including EMC Insurance Companies and Next Level Ventures. The $4 million round puts MākuSafe over $10 million in total capital raised since the company founded in 2016.

“Our plan for this first year is to get a little bit of product into a lot of companies,” said Gabriel Glynn, CEO of MākuSafe. “Maybe get 100 devices into 70 or 80 companies across the country. If we can provide a really good experience to a lot of different companies and get just a handful of them to scale with us, we’re going to be in really good shape.”

The company now employs 17 people with plans to hire more throughout the year.

“We hired five people just in June alone. By the end of August, we’ll be over 20 people,” said Glynn.

Launching a product during a pandemic

The company first launched its wearable armband device and SaaS platform in March after completing years of testing and certification.

“It was really unfortunate timing,” said Glynn. “We literally got our product to our warehouse here in West Des Moines on the day that things started shutting down. Almost everything we were planning to do got put on delay as companies tried to grapple with letting vendors in and starting new projects.”

Despite launching its product in March, MākuSafe didn’t begin deploying its platform until about a month ago, Glynn told Clay & Milk.

“Since then, it’s been a positive experience,” said Glynn. “The first deployment that we did since the start of COVID has already been successful. It’s only been live for about a month but the company has reached out to us about scaling the product to a larger worker population and to cover another location for them.”

In May, MākuSafe added two new features to its platform — contact tracing reports and worker density mapping —to help companies begin to get their workforce back to work safely.

“Contact tracing wasn’t even in our vernacular 90 days ago,” said Glynn. “We’ve built a pretty robust piece of technology and realized that with the data we were already gathering we can tell workers are at any given time. Pretty quickly we were able to create a couple of features without having to add new hardware or dramatically change anything in our platform.”

Previous coverage

MākuSafe raises $1.5 million to grow team, scale manufacturing -Jan. 7, 2020

Industrial startups see growth through Maple Ventures -July 10, 2019

MākuSafe raises $4 million round as it begins to deploy its safety technology nationwide | 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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