Middle Bit: Des Moines Partnership hires Diana Wright as Startup Community Builder

The Greater Des Moines Partnership has hired Diana Wright for the position of Startup Community Builder.

In this role, Wright will engage with the existing startups and high-growth businesses in the Greater Des Moines areea. She will also help new and diverse startups connect with the community and its mentors, advisors, investors and other community leaders and feeders.

Wright most recently worked at Iowa State University’s Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship to lead, create and market a number of the cornerstone entrepreneurial programs, including the creation of CYstarters, the first-ever student accelerator at Iowa State University. Prior to that role, Wright worked as a Community Builder for tech startup Dwolla. A connector in the Iowa startup community, her leadership includes rebooting Startup Ames, organizing events during the inaugural year for 1 Million Cups Ames and leading due diligence rounds as a member of the first women’s angel investing network in Iowa, FIN Capital.

“I am focused on a single purpose: to help entrepreneurs build real, impactful businesses in Iowa,” Wright said in an announcement. “I am excited to work with existing and aspiring startup founders in Greater Des Moines to help them connect, build upon success and identify how we can collectively continue to build the startup ecosystem in this community.”

“A growing, vibrant startup community is critical for economic development success,” said Jay Byers, President & CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “As we evaluated opportunities to support the startup community in DSM, it became clear that we needed a connector and creator to support and maximize the DSM startup community. Diana has a proven track record of building relationships and programs to help startups and the startup ecosystem grow.”

Wright will begin her new role at the Partnership on April 19.

Data analytics company from Des Moines accepted into St. Louis-based accelerator program

InfraLytiks, a Des Moines-based data analytics company, has been accepted into the inaugural cohort of the NGA Accelerator, a new geospatial startup accelerator program based in St. Louis.

Eight companies will be a part of the cohort. Each company will receive $100,000 in non-dilutive grant funding and participate in a 13-week business development program. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cohort will operate virtually.

The new accelerator program is being managed through an agreement between the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Missouri Technology Corp. and St. Louis-based Capital Innovators. It aims to find technology firms that can “help solve geospatial challenges that focus on government and industry opportunities” in areas of data management, advanced analytics and modeling, data integrity and security and artificial intelligence.

The eight startups participating in the initial cohort of the NGA Accelerator are:

  • Anno.ai (Reston, VA): provides machine learning software and services to assist the U.S. Department of Defense, intelligence, and commercial sectors.
  • Boston Geospatial (Boston, MA): uses space-based racer imagery and other data to create products for customers who operate in the critical infrastructure market, such as oil and gas.
  • Granular.ai (Somerville, MA): has developed an intelligence system it says can be used for regional data collection and industry-specific use.
  • InfraLytiks (Des Moines, IA): focuses on data analytics and developing automation software using tools such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer vision.
  • Kinnami (Braintree, MA): has developed a data management and security platform.
  • Polysentry (San Francisco, CA): Software-as-a-Service company that automates the analysis of large datasets for the intelligence, defense, and private sector communities.
  • Stratodyne (Columbia, MO): collects high-resolution imagery from aerial balloons and analyzes it to help users predict vegetation changes, monitor assets, and detect threats in real-time.
  • Xona Space Systems (San Mateo, CA): building a next-generation satellite navigation system using small but powerful satellites in low-Earth orbit.

MākuSafe CEO Gabriel Glynn named one of ‘Top 25 Leaders Transforming Manufacturing

Gabriel Glynn, CEO and CoFounder of MākuSafe was honored as one of the top 25 leaders who are transforming the manufacturing industry.

The recognition was bestowed by SME, a professional association committed to advancing manufacturing and developing a skilled workforce. The 25 leaders, who work at startups, large corporations, public-private partnerships and standards organizations, are successfully changing the pace and scope of technological adoption of smart manufacturing processes at the highest levels.