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BrokerTech Ventures announces its 2022 cohort
BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) has announced the 12 insurtech startups that will take part in the 2022 cohort. “As we kick off the third year of our BTV Accelerator, I am thrilled with the diversity of technologies we were presented and will move through the accelerator, as well as the amount of international interest and presence…
Middle Bit: EntreFEST scheduled for June 2022 in Iowa City
EntreFEST will return next year on June 9 and 10.  The two-day conference is designed to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, with professionals at every level coming together to share ideas.  Next year's conference will take place in Iowa City rather than in Cedar Rapids. Those interested in speaking at EntreFEST 2022 can…
Middle Bit: NewBoCo announces changes in leadership
NewBoCo announced a change in leadership this week, as Eric Engelmann will step down from his role as Executive Director to focus exclusively on ISA Ventures, a $15 million venture fund that will invest in Iowa businesses. His role will be filled by Aaron Horn, who currently serves as NewBoCo’s Chief Operating Officer. Horn joined…
Middle Bit: UIowa honors seven leading business innovators
The University of Iowa has announced the 2020 recipients of the Iowa Innovation and Entrepreneurial Honors. Recipients of the Honors were selected for their significant accomplishments in both entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as their impact on their communities. Here are the recipients: Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year | Scott Heiferman, Meetup Young Alumni…
Middle Bit: ACT announces change in leadership
Iowa City-based ACT announced a change in leadership on Thursday. CEO Marten Roorda will be leaving the organization, ACT said, with Chief Operating Officer Janet Godwin stepping into the role on an interim basis.  Roorda took the helm at ACT in October 2015, replacing its previous CEO Jon Whitemore. Under his watch, the Iowa City, Iowa-based…
BrokerTech Ventures announces five new investor partners
BrokerTech Ventures has announced the addition of five new investor partners to the accelerator—Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Inc., The Horton Group, Inc., IMA Financial Group, MJ Insurance, and Woodruff Sawyer. BrokerTech also announced the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer, Susan Hatten, who previously served as the BTV interim executive director during the formation of the accelerator. "The addition of these…
BrokerTech Ventures announces 12 startups for 2020 cohort
BrokerTech Ventures has announced the 12 insurtech startups that will participate in the accelerator’s first cohort, which will begin March 2 in Des Moines. The startups, all with solutions designed specifically for the broker segment of the insurance industry, include: • Agentero, Oakland, CA • Broker Buddha, New York, NY • ChalkBites, Inc., Davenport,…
BrokerTech Ventures opens applications for 2020 cohort
BrokerTech Ventures, a Des Moines-based investor group and accelerator program focused on delivering innovation to the insurance agent-broker industry, has opened the application window for the 2020 BrokerTech Ventures Accelerator cohort. The first cohort of the five-week accelerator program will begin in March 2020. A total of $500,000 in seed funding is available for the…
BrokerTech Ventures 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 mpatane@clayandmilk.com.
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