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DMACC to open new virtual learning lab for students
Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) will unveil a new, cutting-edge Virtual Learning Lab at the Microsoft Datacenter Academy located on its West Des Moines Campus on March 11, during Celebrate! Innovation Live.  The new lab incorporates state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, providing students with an opportunity to navigate within the large, complex and highly…
West Des Moines companies partner to create marketing collective
A group of West Des Moines-based companies has partnered to create Anthologic, a collective of specialized marketing and technology companies. The specialist companies that are part of Anthologic include: Performance Marketing — A marketing agency that helps companies reinvent the way they connect with customers through branding, communications and digital experiences. Shift — A software and technology…
Iowa Startup Accelerator adds eCourt Reporters portfolio
Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA) has added eCourt Reporters to its list of portfolio companies. “We’re thrilled to have eCourt Reporters as a portfolio company because they’re a strong new company with an award-winning platform being built here in the Midwest,” NewBoCo Executive Director and Accelerator Managing Director Eric Engelmann said in an announcement.. Based out…
Assistance Tech wins Iowa Startup Games
Last week, the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) hosted its annual Iowa Startup Games Competition. The Iowa Startup Games is a three-day event where students from all areas of study pitch their ideas to have an impact. After the student pitches, teams were formed and work together to bring the best…
MākuSafe wins ACORD Insurtech Innovation Challenge
MākuSafe has been named winners of the 2019 ACORD InsurTech Innovation Challenge. The West Des Moines-based company, who advanced through multiple rounds to beat out nearly 100 other contestants, was announced the winner during ACORD Connect 2019 in Boston this week. The company was awarded $15,000 for winning. MākuSafe is an Insurtech SaaS/Data & Analytics company that has developed wearable…
Tech Archives | 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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