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Ten Iowa City entrepreneurs accepted into national accelerator program
After a successful first cohort this winter, ten Iowa City entrepreneurs will enter a national idea accelerator program aimed at taking their ideas from concept and putting them into action, becoming builders. The selected ideas include a platform to improve travel aggregation for individuals and enterprise; a learning platform to help athletic training students;…
Jay Cooper’s 2022 Forecast for Iowa City
Guest post by Jay Cooper. Jay is an entrepreneur and ecosystem builder based in Iowa City. He’s organized Startup Weekend Iowa City and 1 Million Cups Iowa City since 2018, and helped create Startup Weekend Iowa Online in 2021. His startup, Cider Finder, works to bring together cider makers and enthusiasts through technology, over one…
iotaMotion raises $2.1 million to further development of cochlear implant system
Iowa City-based medical device company, iotaMotion, has raised $2.1 million  in a seed financing round to fuel the development of their novel robotic systems for cochlear implantation surgery. The iotaMotion technology will enable surgeons to achieve more precise, individualized solutions for patients experiencing various types of hearing loss. IOTA-Soft is the company's robotic-assisted insertion device, which will allow…
Rantizo is bringing drone technology to the ag industry
This story is part of a series that will look at and profile each of the six startups in NewBoCo’s Fall 2018 accelerator programs. An Iowa City-based agtech startup is looking to change the way we spray crops. Rantizo uses drone technology to spray crops, allowing farmers to more precisely deliver chemicals, such as fertilizer, to their fields. Instead…
IDx raises $33 million in Series A financing round
Coralville-based IDx has raised $33 million in a Series A financing round. The funding round was led by 8VC with participation from Optum Ventures, Alpha Edison and Heritage Provider Network. The company says the funding will be used to accelerate market adoption of IDx-DR, it's AI diagnostic system. In April, IDx-DR received approval from the FDA  to detect diabetic retinopathy -…
Iowa City 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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