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Iowa retailer Raygun partners with The Onion on product line, opens Quad Cities store

Iowa-based retailer RAYGUN is teaming up with the satirical news site The Onion for a limited release of merchandise with both Iowa-centric and nationwide appeal.

RAYGUN being a store centered around humor was one thing that attracted The Onion. “We’re excited to partner with another strong, Midwestern brand,” said The Onion’s managing editor, Jordan LaFlure in a press release. “The character of The Onion is global, but we—the people who produce it—are very much here in Chicago. So we’re familiar with RAYGUN and already wear their merchandise. They’re very good at what they do, and it just seemed like a very natural pairing that was frankly overdue.”

“It’s great to hear people walk around the store and laugh at product,” said RAYGUN owner and founder, Mike, Draper. “I mean, the product is MEANT to be laughed at. It would be sadder if they were laughing at a product that wasn’t supposed to be a joke.”

The clothing store recently opened a new store in Davenport, located at 201 Second. St. The new story is the company’s fifth in-state location.

The collaboration is only scheduled to last through the holidays, but more may be on the way in the future.

Iowa retailer Raygun partners with The Onion on product line, opens Quad Cities store | 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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