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Lessification: ‘If minimalism and travel had a baby’

Luigi Rausch was never a good traveler. He was the guy who would fill up two suitcases, packing way too many clothes and bringing more luggage than any of his friends.

Then, while planning a trip to Hong Kong a few years ago he came upon a story about no-bag travel — traveling without a bag and just the clothes your wearing and the stuff in your pockets.

“If this guy can travel to multiple countries without any bags, then I can travel to Hong Kong with just one backpack. That was sort of the genesis of all this,” said Rausch. “So I found a backpack and did some research, and loved it. Everything about my trip was easier and more enjoyable and I decided that I’m never going back.”

That trip inspired Rausch to create Lessification, a website that provides tips and resources on how to simplify traveling.

“Essentially it’s if minimalism & travel had a baby — we tell you how to pack, so you can travel easily with one backpack or less,” said Rausch.

The website includes blog posts focused on individual travel topics including ‘how to pack less clothes’ and ‘minimizing your toilets.’ Rausch also posts what he calls ‘travel tip Tuesday’ on Lessification’s social media channels. “Its basically travel school in bite-size chunks.”

In addition to running Lessification, Rausch currently works as a UX & Visual Designer for Now Now, a design studio based in Des Moines.

Rausch’s site was negatively impacted by COVID when travel largely came to a standstill in March.

“Like everything, you just kind of have to pivot and look for a silver lining,” said Rausch. “And in this case it’s super cheap airline tickets, not just in the short-term but in the long-term as well.”

Moving forward, Rausch says he eventually would like to expand Lessification to include other topics.

“Right now Lessification solely focuses on travel,” said Rausch. “Eventually, I would like to expand into other things and apply Lessification principles to everyday life like finance and health.”

Lessification: 'If minimalism and travel had a baby' | 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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