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Iowa internet provider Xtreamair acquired by NextLink

Xtreamair, an internet service business operating in western Iowa and headquartered in Cushing, Iowa, has been acquired Nextlink Internet.

Nextlink Internet is a rural-focused provider of high-speed broadband and voice services to residential, business, institutional and governmental customers in Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.

The acquisition is part of Nextlink’s expansion of broadband and voice services in small towns and rural markets across the Midwest.

“We are truly excited to have the team at Xtreamair join us in our expansion across Iowa,” said Bill Baker, CEO of Nextlink in an announcement. “They are a great fit with us in terms of their dedication to rural and small-town subscribers and the overall cultural fit between our organizations.”

Nextlink was relatively unknown until 2018, when it was one of the biggest winners in the Connect America Fund CAF II auction, which awarded the company $281 million in support to bring broadband to unserved rural areas of several states.

Since then, the company announced a partnership to help close the broadband gap and bring high-speed internet to hundreds of rural communities. The agreement was part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which is focused on addressing this national crisis, with the goal of extending broadband access to over 3 million unserved people in rural America by July 2022.

“Nextlink’s expertise and resources will be great for Iowa and our local communities,” said Bob Bendixen, founder Xtreamair. “Our customers will benefit from the expansion and upgrade of our networks, and we will be able to utilize the same staff that everyone has known for years while creating more jobs in western Iowa as Nextlink builds the team out with additional resources.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Iowa internet provider Xtreamair acquired by NextLink | 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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