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Slater-based GW Nutrition receives $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine

GW Nutrition, a Slater-based startup that is developing a technology to improve food ingredients, has received an initial investment of $50,000 from Ag Startup Engine.

GW Nutrition arises from the leadership and innovation of Gross-Wen Technologies, who was Ag Startup Engine’s third investment in 2017. This new, separate venture will utilize patent-pending technology on “high value ingredients where neutralization of flavor, odor and color create a competitive advantage.” Their first product will be an algae protein with a reduced sensory profile and will be offered as an alternative to whey, soy, or animal-based proteins.

“GW Nutrition is another attractive business leveraging algae technology,” said Kevin Kimle, Ag Startup Engine Co-Director. “The leadership team at GW Nutrition brings tremendous experience in taking novel food ingredients to market, and the potential demand for algae-based protein ingredients is significant.”

“The demand for sustainably sourced alternative protein continues to grow rapidly,” said Anita Norian, President of GW Nutrition. “To meet this growing demand, new technology will be required to allow the utilization of alternative proteins in the mainstream food market. We selected algae as our first target ingredient due to its sustainability and high-quality protein. An algae with a reduced organoleptic profile can be broadly applied to meet the alternative protein demand in the market. We are excited to partner with the Ag Startup Engine team and its wide network to help accelerate our growth.”

Previous coverage

Ag Startup Engine invests $50,000 in Phinite

Salin 247 receives $50K investment from Ag Startup Engine

Ames startup Farmers Risk receives $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine

Ag Startup Engine raises second fund of $2.25 million to invest in startups over the next five years

Slater-based GW Nutrition receives $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine | 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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