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Partnership Launches Iowa Agtech Accelerator

August 31, 2016

The Greater Des Moines Partnership and Cultivation Corridor has partnered to launch a new agtech accelerator (The Accelerator) that will support the development of Central Iowa as a global hub and incubator of cutting-edge agricultural technology.

The Accelerator will be modeled after the Global Insurance Accelerator that was launched by The Partnership in 2014 and will align closely with the mission of Cultivation Corridor, which has worked to promote Central Iowa as a destination for pioneers in agbioscience, agritechnology, biorenewables, plant sciences, and advanced manufacturing.

It will graduate two classes of six startups each. In the coming months, The Accelerator will be forming a board and hiring a managing director in preparation for its first class in 2017.

“Today’s announcement is an example of Central Iowa celebrating its agricultural roots and leveraging that key industry into further global economic growth,” said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership in a statement released by Cultivation Corridor. “Our state is at the top in so many areas in terms of agriculture, and The Accelerator will help ensure that we are a world leader for years to come.”

The launch is made possible by the support of four key investors – DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, John Deere, and Peoples Company, each of which has committed $100,000 to the venture for the first year.

“The Cultivation Corridor relies on support from Central Iowa businesses, and I am pleased that key collaborators DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, John Deere and Peoples Company have committed to support the Ag Tech Accelerator,” said Kathryn Kunert, Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration at MidAmerican Energy Company and Cultivation Corridor Officer.

 

This is the second ag-focused accelerator to be launched in recent months in Iowa. In May of this year, Iowa State University announced it established Ag Startup Engine, a new accelerator that will identify and fund highly promising agricultural startups.

“Advances in modern agriculture and biotechnology are fundamental to providing the world’s expanding population with food and energy security,” state Cultivation Corridor on its website.

“Through dynamic public-private partnerships, cutting-edge research and capital investments, the Cultivation Corridor leveraging these resources to lead initiatives that, by attracting global companies, talent and capital, will increase agricultural production, output and viability for a healthy and sustainable global future.”

People’s company echoes the importance of investing to support agtech innovation now, for better future food security. “Peoples Company believes strongly in the benefits of investing in new startups that will improve yields, sustain our environment and feed the world,” said Steve Bruere, President of Peoples Company. “We are hopeful that startups of today will help producers solve problems for years to come.”

Lynda Kiernan

 

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