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Rantizo becomes first company approved to operate T-30 Drones
Iowa City agtech company Rantizo announced today that it has become the first company approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for operation of the DJI Agras T-30 drone for agricultural applications. The T-30 drone launched earlier in 2021, but could not be operated due to the FAA regulation only allowing the use of drones 55 pounds…
ISU and University of Iowa named top entrepreneurship schools by Princeton Review
The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur today announced the results of The Princeton Review's 16th annual ranking of undergraduate and graduate schools for entrepreneurship studies. Iowa State University and the University of Iowa both made the list of top 50 undergraduate schools, ranking at no. 11 and no. 28, respectively. The results are based on a survey the education services company…
Ames startup N-Sense receives $50k investment from Ag Startup Engine
N-Sense, an Ames-based startup that is developing a soil nitrate sensor system for on-the-go nitrogen management, has received a $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine. Founded in 2017, N-Sense's soil nitrate sensor system can be attached to farm implements and used to determine in-real-time on-the-go soil nitrate concentrations with enough accuracy to facilitate precision application…
Techstars Iowa alum QuickHire raises $1.4 million investment round
QuickHire, a Kansas-based career discovery platform working with service workers to find job and advancement opportunities, announced today an oversubscribed $1.41 million financing round, led by MATH Venture Partners. The funding will go towards technology investments and team expanding the company's team, led by co-founders Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall. This round also included participation from Sandalphon Capital, KCRise…
Middle Bit: Nebullam to begin delivering in Cedar Rapids
Each Friday, Clay & Milk curates a rundown of startup, tech and innovation news from around the state in a post known as the "Middle Bit." Indoor farming startup Nebullam is bringing its services to Cedar Rapids, reports the Corridor Business Journal. Nebullam was founded in 2017, with a focus on improving indoor farming technologies.…
Parametric Studio is changing STEM education with project-based software and games
This story is part of our “EdTech In Iowa” series, an exploration of startups, individuals and trends in Iowa’s edtech ecosystem. The series is sponsored by Iowa EdTech Collaborative, a network of internationally-known education companies, successful edtech startups, educators, and economic development leaders working collectively to grow human-centered K-12 and lifelong learning in Iowa. Parametric Studio,…
Iowa celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week
Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off today with a host of events throughout the week. Global Entrepreneurship Week is a massive campaign to celebrate and empower entrepreneurs in every country and community around the world — especially those individuals who face structural barriers or may have never considered the idea of launching their own startup. Here…
2021 Prometheus Awards Winners
Technology and business leaders from around the state gathered at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines last night to celebrate the 2021 Prometheus Awards. Fifteen awards were given out to Iowa companies, communities, and organizations in the state that have made significant growth and achievements over the last year. Brian Waller, President…
Growers Edge acquires FarmlandFinder’s software assets
Growers Edge, a provider of data-driven financial technology (fintech) solutions for the agricultural industry, announced today the acquisition of the lending and appraisal software, as well as the farmland sales website from FarmlandFinder. The acquisition by Growers Edge will build on the company’s innovative warranty-backed Crop Plans and financial software and services for the ag industry.  FarmlandFinder was…
Clay & Milk | Page 4 of 120 | 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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