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ISU Startup Factory recruiting for spring cohort, hosting Demo Day in December

The ISU Startup Factory is recruiting for its Spring 2023 cohort. 

The ISU Startup Factory is an incubator program for startup founders looking to validate their scalable startup idea. Entrepreneurs receive training, resources, guidance, and access to a network of mentors, Startup Factory alumni, and advisors.

The Spring program will run from January 9 – May 16, and meet from 10-12 on Tuesdays and 9-10 on Thursdays over Zoom.

During the 18-week program, innovators will develop their business acumen, enhance their communication skills, and learn about their customers. This curriculum will prepare them to pursue non-dilutive funding as they continue developing their technology and commercialization plans.

Options to graduate to one of Iowa’s accelerators or other startup programs are available, along with programming to sustain regular mentorship, supported through the ISU Startup Factory.

Applications are due December 2.

ISU Startup Factory & G2M showcase

On Tuesday, December 6, the ISU Startup Factory’s twelfth cohort and Iowa G2M Accelerator’s second cohort will be hosting a Demo Day event.

Demo Day is your chance to hear from, and connect with, the startups who have completed each of the two cohorts.

Following founder presentations, will be a networking reception where attendees can connect with founders and mentors, learn more about the Startup Factory and G2M programs, and celebrate these founders’ successes.

ISU Startup Factory recruiting for spring cohort, hosting Demo Day in December | 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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