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SBDC Iowa announces winners of 2022 Special Entrepreneurial Awards
America’s SBDC Iowa has announced the winners of its 2022 special entrepreneur awards.  “We are honored to have clients who have worked diligently to move their businesses forward while showing a strong commitment to their communities and customers," said Lisa Shimkat, State Director of America’s SBDC Iowa in a release. "We are delighted to be able to…
Koloni raises $1.3 million seed round
Koloni, a Midwest-based startup, announced today that it has successfully completed a seed round of $1.3 million. The round was led by Jason Calacanis’ Launch Fund with additional investments from ISA Ventures, Twelve19 Ventures, Chicago Early Growth Ventures, Locker One Ventures and others.  Koloni's platform is looking to revolutionize the smart locker industry, enabling smart…
University of Iowa launches new incubator program for graduate students
The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) has opened its first business incubator designed specifically for University of Iowa graduate students interested in commercializing their research. While JPEC has maintained an undergraduate business incubator for some time, this is the first designed with the needs of the university’s graduate students in mind, said Kurt Heiar,…
Three startups join Iowa Startup Accelerator’s spring cohort
The Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA) in Cedar Rapids has accepted three startups — Haggle, Groov, and Sprayer Mods — into the Spring 2022 cohort of the program. “These three exciting startups introduce unique technologies that will transform and upgrade their respective industries”, said Alex Taylor, managing director of ISA. “Additionally these early stage…
Des Moines Partnership holding seminar on raising capital
The Greater Des Moines Partnership is hosting its Raising Capital Seminar on Thursday, April 7. From capitalization tables to equity compensation and managing the investment close, this seminar will cover a range of topics and provide resources to help you build your startup to be successful. Past attendees of the Raising Capital Seminar have…
ISU is hosting a series of workshops for entrepreneurs this Spring
Beginning this week, Iowa State University will be hosting a series of virtual workshops for student entrepreneurs. The “Start Something Series” is designed for student entrepreneurs who are exploring the idea of entrepreneurship and those who want to learn more about marketing their small businesses. A total of six workshops will take place over the…
IEDA awards funding to five Iowa startups
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board has approved funding for five Iowa startups. In total the five startups received $300,000 in funding. Here are the five startups that received funding. FBB Biomed FBB Biomed, doing business in Coralville, is a biotech company with a mission to expand the reimbursable diagnostics market to brain diseases.…
WorkHound raises $12 million Series A round
WorkHound, an employee feedback and retention platform, announced today that it has successfully completed a $12 million Series A fundraising round. The capital, funded wholly by Level Equity, a growth equity firm based in New York City, will be used by WorkHound to add to its employee headcount, expand product offerings, and grow its…
OpenLoop raises $8 million Series A round
Des Moines health tech startup OpenLoop announced today a Series A financing round of $8 million. OpenLoop will use the capital to continue to expand its telehealth services and to grow its team. The company currently has 45 employees with plans to add another 25-30 employees by the end of the year. "Just six…
Clay & Milk | Page 3 of 125 | 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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