Middle Bit: The Weitz Company partners with MākuSafe to promote workplace safety

The Weitz Company announced this week that it is partnering with MākuSafe and will be using its new technology to help protect workers from hazards.

MākuSafe, a safety technology and data analytics company located in West Des Moines, is equipping workers with wearable safety devices that record data to help safety managers predict and correct potential hazardous issues—including implementing measures to help manage concerns related to COVID-19.

MākuSafe was founded in 2016 with a mission to improve workplace safety using actionable data. Since then, the company has continued to develop their workforce wearable technology and data dashboard, called MākuSmart, to meet evolving safety needs. 

“It’s incredibly important to keep workers safe on projects like these, especially as they continue their essential work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gabe Glynn, co-founder and CEO of MākuSafe. “We understand the power of data and are happy to be part of such an important project in our community.” 

“The health and safety of our workers is our top priority on every project we complete,” said Aaron Anderson, Safety Director at The Weitz Company. “MākuSafe offers us a way to collect and use data to protect our workers every step of the way. Weitz is proud to be the first construction company to implement MākuSafe on a construction site.” 

Construction on the site is expected to continue through 2022. As workers wear their devices, additional health and safety measures will be taken—if needed—based on the data collected. 

M25 releases ‘2020 Best of the Midwest: Startup Cities Rankings’

On Thursday, Venture Capital Firm M25 released its 2020 ranking of 59 Midwest cities based on startup activity, access to resources, and business climate.

Des Moines was the highest ranked city from Iowa on the list at #18, moving up six spots from last year’s rankings.

“A highly educated workforce, strong accelerators/incubators (including the new Techstars Iowa), large companies, decent startup density and a relatively high number of VCs vaulted Des Moines higher,” M25 said in a press release announcing the ranking. “The intense focus on insurtech (with the Global Insurance Accelerator and numerous highly engaged corporates) and agtech (with the Iowa Agritech accelerator and statewide resources flowing in) should continue to benefit this ecosystem and create more startup activity — and ultimately big outcomes — in the future.”

Other cities in Iowa to make the list were Iowa City (#27), Ames (#31), Cedar Rapids (#42), and Quad Cities (#55).

Click here to check out the full 2020 Best of the Midwest: Startup City Rankings.

ManchesterStory leads $6 million investment round in Verikai

Insurance technology company Verikai announced that it has raised $6 million in Series A funding. The round of funding was led by Des Moines-based venture capital firm ManchesterStory.

Verikai is known for helping insurers close the gaps between underwriting and actuarial processes through a proprietary applied data platform. And data analysis and insight are directly served through a real time API into the underwriting workflow.

Verikai leverages alternative data on individual behaviors, along with the largest set of carrier-informed underwriting outcomes, then calibrates and trains it with their machine learning-informed modeling to create an ultra-accurate prediction of future claims,” said Matt Kinley, co-founder and Managing Partner of ManchesterStory. “Insurtech is our core focus and we are excited to back a company with such a strong product-market fit.” 

GIA announces 20 companies for InsurTech Week

The Global Insurance Accelerator has announced the 20 InsurTech companies and founders who will virtually headline the GIA’s sixth-annual InsurTech Week in October.

  • ClaimSpace – Aurora Voss
  • Atticus DQPro – Nick Mair
  • Corax – Gregory Shanks
  • Floatbot – Jimmy Hareshkumar Padia
  • Gait – Josh Bickett
  • Life Legacy – Spencer Cassidy
  • Fligoo – Juan Cruz Garzón
  • Dr. Opinion – Daniel Takabayashi
  • FIV Holdings – (Ramona Fellmy)
  • Marble – Stuart Winchester
  • Photocert – Pasquale Saviano UBNUM
  • GIS Hero App – Tom Mueller
  • Cognitive View – Dilip Mohapatra
  • Hosta Labs – Henriette Fleischmann
  • SimBlox / ThumbScore – David Thorne
  • Harbor.ai – Paul Gaglioti III, CIC
  • rikor.io – Wade Millward, CIC
  • Bubble Insurance – Avi Gupta
  • Alloy Claims – Dylan Whitehead
  • WETTERHELD – Nikolaus Haufler

InsurTech Week 2020 will be completely virtual and conducted using the Hopin event app. Features include live presentations, virtual booths, breakout room demos, and 1:1 and group video networking. The event will also feature more than 25 of the GIA’s alumni companies who have gone through the 100-day accelerator programs.