First Iowa AgriTech Accelerator Seeks to Invest in Innovation

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Several groups and companies in Iowa are seeking to bring the best in agricultural innovation to Des Moines for a first-of-its-kind summit this summer.

The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, organized by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor, will be a 100-day event in the heart of downtown Des Moines. With seven investors on board--including DuPont Pioneer, John Deere, Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corporation, Sukup Manufacturing, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, and Peoples Company--participants will have the opportunity to learn from the best in the industry, as well as receive $40,000 in seed funding for a 6% equity position in their startup.

"Our goal is to find those nuggets of innovation around the world, and distribute them," said interim director Tej Dhawan. "We're not just saying, 'Let's build it only here and keep it only here.' Let's find them, let's accelerate them, and then let's distribute them all over the world."

Dhawan says while the application does not officially open until April 3, he's already received interest from four groups. Applications must be submitted between April 3 and May 12. The 100-day accelerator will go from July 10 to October 20, with participants graduating at the World Food Prize week in October. All courses will take place at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, and participants will have access to subsidized housing nearby.