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Middle Bit: ACT launches new learning platform ‘Mosaic’

ACT this week launched Mosaic, a research-backed, comprehensive learning solution to provide educators, learners, and families with online learning tools and services to address student needs in the classroom and at home, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Integrating several mergers, acquisitions and investments, Mosaic by ACT combines the adaptive academic learning power of ScootPad, open educational resources from OpenEd, Knovation, and curriculum and assessment framework services from ACT SkillSuite; social emotional learning from Mawi Learning and ACT Tessera; and learning and professional resources from ProExam.

Mosaic by ACT features:

  • Adaptive Academic Learning: An adaptive learning platform and extensive curriculum and real-time assessment resources to build student knowledge and skills in mathematics and English language arts. It includes a digital learning library with more than 80,000 curated and standards-aligned resources, as well as social and emotional learning.
  • Social Emotional Learning: An evidence-based solution that drives tangible results using flexible, adaptable assessment, and curriculum and professional development to prepare all students for success.
  • Learning and Professional Services: An extensive catalog of professional development services to help educators apply these resources to implement effective learning solutions.

“Educators, learners, and families are at the center of everything we do,” said ACT CEO Janet Godwin. “As a nonprofit helping millions of learners realize education and workplace success each year, we’re uniquely prepared to apply our expertise in meaningful ways. Mosaic by ACT is the culmination of our strategic approach to transform into a learning organization. We’re broadening our focus from measuring student progress (with assessments) to providing actionable solutions that improve learner outcomes.”

Kimle aquaculture Launches Production Facility, REBRANDS TO MIDLAND CO.

Midland Co. (formerly known as Kimle Aquaculture) announced the launch of an innovative land-based shrimp production facility in Story City, Iowa. Midland Co.’s mission is to raise sustainable, ethical, and delicious seafood.

Using Algae-Based RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) technology, Midland shrimp are free of hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals. Pacific white shrimp is a warm water species that have a robust flavor profile with a lobster-like richness – sweet but earthy, tender yet firm. Midland’s shrimp are delivered tank-to-table as a part of Midland’s innovative delivery model.

Midland’s technology simplifies RAS systems with a new algae-based wastewater treatment. The algae captures nutrients from water and carbon from the air, leaving the water purified and oxygenated in a single one-step wastewater treatment system. The nutrient-dense algae are then recovered to be used as an alternative regenerative fertilizer. This zero-discharge technology makes it one of the most sustainable forms of aquaculture today.

The commercial demonstration facility is undergoing construction with Accurate Development as the lead construction partner for current and future facilities. The 20,000 square foot facility will be the model for future contract grower-out facilities. Each facility has the capacity to produce 80,000 pounds of shrimp annually.

“Midland Co. is an impressive venture that has made significant strides in a short period of time,” said Jared Johnson, a member of Accurate Development. “I believe in the technology, product, and team of Midland Co. and know that this company will have a high impact for Iowa and is a huge opportunity to diversify protein production and build future regenerative agriculture opportunities.”


Dickinson Law will be hosting a startup webinar on Thursday, Oct. 8.

The free webinar will discuss legal issues that can have a real impact on starting a new venture. 

Attendees will receive information from legal counsel who regularly work with startups as they get their ideas off the ground. Attendees will also hear from guest speaker Michael Ott, president and CEO of Rantizo, an Iowa City-based startup that offers agricultural drone spraying.

Reserve a spot here.

Middle Bit: ACT launches new learning platform 'Mosaic' | 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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