We're excited to welcome Paul Singh and Dana Duncan back to Iowa for the second year as part of their 40+ city North American Tech Tour. Last year, we based the majority of the visit in downtown Des Moines with day trips to both Cedar Rapids and Ames. This year, we're changing things up. They'll start the trip with two days in Iowa City and before anchoring their Central Iowa visit at our our new Gravitate Valley Junction location in West Des Moines.
Last week I was invited to give a five minute talk at Steve Case's Rise of the Rest Summit in Washington, DC, about Clay & Milk, a venture I'm involved in to help tell the story on the Iowa startup and innovation community. The Rise of the Rest Summit brought together entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem builders from the nearly 30 cities who haver participated in Case's bus tours over the past few years. This post is the narrative of that talk.
We’re offering the chance to become a “Founding Member” of Gravitate Ames. Founding Members can join us by purchasing their first month’s membership today at 50% of our normal membership fees. We’ll hold that as a deposit now and you’ll be able to keep that rate for your first three months (yeah!).
Late last week our home for the past 2.5 years, the Midland Building, was sold to a developer that has exciting plans for the place. Those plans require a massive renovation of the 100+ year old structure and that’s an opportunity for us to evolve Gravitate into something stronger—in a new location.
I did something yesterday that I've never done before. I stopped in to my Congressman's office to talk to him about an issue that concerns me (I live in Iowa's 3rd District and I'm represented by David Young). The issue is the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare), the current efforts to repeal and replace it, and how I think that will impact entrepreneurs and small business owners in Iowa.
The following is a look back at the things that really stood out in the Iowa innovation community in 2016. To create it, I combed through the past 51 issues of The Pull and grouped the highlights into three pretty handy categories: Acquisitions, Accelerators and Investment. Of course, there were several other items that I wanted to include that didn't fit as neatly into one of the categories so you'll find them at the end in the "The Year in Other Stuff" section.
Putting together a post like this really makes one appreciate how much ground we cover as a community in the course of a year. You're all pretty great.
When I moved back to Des Moines from out-of-state in mid-2009, the idea of a "startup community" in Iowa was pretty new. We had always had people building scalable companies here and many of the supportive elements of the community (funding, mentorship, events, business assistance, social scene, etc.) already existed or were in the early stages of developing. However, something was missing.
No one was telling the story of individual local startups or the Iowa startup community.
Last week was busy.
From about 8 AM on Monday morning through 3 PM on Friday, we packed Paul Singh’s schedule full of presentations, meetups and office hours. When I first talked with Paul, just over a month ago, about potentially squeezing in an Iowa week on his North American Tech Tour he said that he wanted to come here to get to really know what it is like to be part of our startup community. He wanted to meet the people, see the companies and experience the life of an Iowa entrepreneur.
One person who has been consistently able to find capital in this market is Derian Baugh, Founder & CEO of Men’s Style Lab. When he mentioned the other day that they had recently closed a round of funding I asked him, “what’s it like to raise money in Iowa right now?”
Politico Magazine published a lengthy story this week entitled: How America’s Dullest City Got Cool—One meeting, a visionary planner and old-fashioned Iowan cooperation reinvented Des Moines, Included in the story is a section on Gravitate and its role in our startup community.