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2022 Prometheus Awards Winners
The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) revealed the winners of the 2022 Prometheus Awards last night at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. The annual Prometheus Awards unites innovators and leaders from technology, business, education, and government organizations across the state to gather to celebrate the year's most momentous achievements in…
Applications open for 2023 cohort of BrokerTech Ventures
BrokerTech Ventures (BTV), a Des Moines-based investor group and accelerator program focused on the insurance agent-broker industry, has opened the application window for its 2023 cohort. The deadline for BTV Accelerator applications is December 15. The initial review will be in January, with the top 20 startups chosen to take part in the Selection Series…
Iowa to launch $30 million venture fund, announces statewide pitch competition
Iowa’s first publicly funded venture capital fund—the InnoVenture Iowa Fund —is set to launch soon with the goal of supporting early-stage startup companies in Iowa. The $30 million fund will invest in early-stage, Iowa-based startups in the industries of bioscience, advanced manufacturing and information technology. biosciences, advanced manufacturing, and information technology. Eligible companies…
Mount Mercy University opens new CRST Data Intelligence Lab
Mount Mercy University held a grand opening last Thursday for its new CRST Data Intelligence Lab, paid for with a $1.25 million gift from CRST. The lab—located on the top floor of Mount Mercy's Basile Hall—includes a virtual reality area, robotics equipment, 3D printers and other new technology. The money from CRST also will support…
Winners of the University of Iowa’s Startup Games
Last weekend, the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) hosted its annual Startup Games Competition. The 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 ideas to…
VizyPay announces new partnership with Shoreline Credit Union
VizyPay, a payment processing fintech focused on rural America, has announced a strategic partnership with Wisconsin-based Shoreline Credit Union. The partnership will provide Shoreline Credit Union members with more access to VizyPay’s lineup of money-saving payments solutions. Through the partnership, Shoreline Credit Union will refer its commercial members to VizyPay for specialized payments solutions, customer service and…
Clay & Milk | Page 2 of 132 | Covering Iowa's startup, entrepreneurial and tech communities
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 mpatane@clayandmilk.com.
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