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Middle Bit: Curbicus launches dog waste disposal product following Iowa Startup Accelerator

Curbicus, which offers dog owners a clean and convenient solution to dog waste, has launched its product nationwide following its participation in the Iowa Startup Accelerator. 

“The Iowa Startup Accelerator really understands our mission and values,” said Anna Gannon, Curbicus founder and inventor. “Also, the ISA’s network and mentorship are extremely valuable.”

Curbicus is a patent-pending, lightweight, easy-to-use vacuum device that “picks up” and disposes of dog waste in a clean, hands-free and environmentally safe way with self-closing compostable capsules. 

After more than three years of development and testing over fifty prototypes, Curbicus is offering a device that is both environmentally friendly and easy to use. It can be operated with just one hand, allowing an individual to clean up dog waste without physically touching it and while having a second hand free to carry a phone, bag, or other personal items.

Gannon said the idea for Curbicus came after years of watching people refuse to clean up after their dogs on city sidewalks. “I could not wrap my head around the fact that people wanted to have dogs and yet were irresponsible pet owners,” Gannon said. “I thought that if I could develop a clean and easy solution to the problem, it would make an impact.”

By using disposable capsules, Gannon notes that the device eliminates the “gross” factor of picking up dog waste. More importantly, it’s environmentally friendly.  

“We are a green company that uses recyclable packaging and materials, as well as compostable capsules,” she says. “In the future, we are going to be using the compost as fertilizer in city parks.”

Pre-orders are currently available at Curbicus’ website for $99.

FarmLogs acquired by North Dakota agtech company

FarmLogs announced yesterday that was acquired is joining forces with Fargo, ND-based agtech company, Bushel.

Founded in Ann Arbor in 2011, FarmLogs builds simple software that would help farmers run more efficient operations. The company expanded into Iowa in 2016, opening an office in Des Moines.

“The addition of FarmLogs’ technology and team to Bushel creates a stronger digital connection between growers, commodity buyers, ag retailers and consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs),” read a press release announcing the acquisition.

Bushel, an independently-owned software technology company for growers, grain buyers, ag retailers, protein producers and food companies, today announced its acquisition of FarmLogs, a leading provider of technology farm management systems for row crop farms.

FarmLogs will continue to operate under the FarmLogs brand. All FarmLogs employees will join the Bushel team.

DenScore is a finalist for the PenFed Foundation Ignition Challenge

DenScore, a Des Moines company focused on improving dental benefits better for employers and employees, is a finalist for the PenFed Foundation Ignition Challenge.

VEIP’s Ignition Challenge is a competition in which military entrepreneurs with a new business or an idea for a business can identify their business impact and goals, compete for votes, and winners will receive both funding and mentorship.

DenScore uses machine learning to analyze dental performance so employers are able to leverage the most value-driven dentists in their insurance plans. The company relocated to Des Moines last year after participating in the 2020 cohort of the Global Insurance Accelerator.

The top 5 finalists of this competition are determined solely on the number of votes they get from the public. You can vote for DenScore here but do so quickly because voting ends today.

Middle Bit: Curbicus launches dog waste disposal product following Iowa Startup Accelerator | 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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