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Ability Tech Wins $10,000 1st Prize at Venture School Launch Day
The University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) held its Venture School Launch Day event in conjunction with EntreFEST last Thursday night. The statewide training program focuses on real-world experimentation, customer discovery, and Lean LaunchPad methodologies. A total of $29,500 in prize money was awarded to nine teams. Ability Tech, a company…
Five startups take home $29,500 at Venture School Launch Day
The University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) held its Venture School Launch Day event in conjunction with EntreFEST last Thursday night. Venture School Launch Day highlighted five standout Venture School alumni from the 2020/2021 year. The five startups were selected from a total of 80 Venture School companies this year and each…
Middle Bit: Dwolla announces Push-to-Debit payout
Dwolla released a new Push-to-Debit payment functionality to its platform this week to allow for fast payouts to a debit card and to give additional flexibility to clients. Companies using Dwolla’s API-based platform can add direct debit payments verified by Finix and settled by MetaBank for disbursements that can be completed within 30 minutes, the…
Middle BIt: IGDA Des Moines to host Global Game Jam site
For the third year in a row, IGDA Des Moines, a local chapter of the International Game Developers Association, is hosting a jam site in Des Moines as part of Global Game Jam. Global Game Jam is the world's largest game jam event, taking place all around the world at over 860 physical locations in over…
Gregg Barcus teaches a new generation of entrepreneurs at Venture School
For University of Iowa professor Gregg Barcus, entrepreneurship is an adventure. Barcus became an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa in 2016 and now teaches statewide for several UI JPEC entrepreneurial programs including Venture School, UI Innovators Workshop and the Washington Mandela Fellowship. Venture School, an innovative training program focused on real-world experimentation, customer discovery, and Lean…
venture school 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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