the PULL #170

October 19, 2016
Paul Singh shared something on his blog this week with regards to comparing many of the 38 startup communities (including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Ames) that he had visited throughout the last year: "In short, it’s pretty much the same everywhere."

More specifically, he noted:

"Most cities of less than 300,000 people seem to only have one coworking space. Maybe they have one angel group. If they’re lucky, they’ve got one code school.

Other than that, they’re all spread thin just trying to keep things afloat.

The local entrepreneurs are just trying to build their businesses. The local elected officials are trying to figure out what tech companies actually do. The local community leaders are trying to figure out how to get things organized — and how to pay for it all."

This jibes pretty well with what I've seen throughout Iowa. On one hand, its disconcerting. Despite all the effort and resources put into building these communities, no one has really figured out how to move theirs along to the next level. On the other hand, its an opportunity. We still have the chance to figure it out here and lead others in a way that does good while we're doing well.

Paul does suggest that one way to find tactics/strategies to improve your community is take the time to see what your peers are up to. "...hop on an airplane (or get in the car) and go visit other places. Go meet your peers in similar cities. It’s really that simple."

That's something that I really find value in doing myself, though I find as Gravitate grows its harder and harder to make the time to do it. Have you visited other startup communities? Do you have ideas on things that we should implement somewhere in Iowa? Reply to this message and let me know your thoughts.


PS. Speaking of visiting with your peers, Here's a post from Baltimore about the Startup Champions Summit I participated in there a few weeks ago. 
Serious Social Media lands $700,000 investment from two Iowa insurers
Business Record (October 17)

A social media software company targeting insurance companies recently received a $700,000 private capital investment from two local firms. Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co. and West Des Moines-based IMT Group contributed to the equity stake in Serious Social Media. The startup, which graduated from the Global Insurance Accelerator earlier this year, has since relocated the majority of its operations from Anaheim, Calif., to Des Moines.

"These early-stage investments confirm our product meets an urgent need in the insurance industry," said David Beall, Serious Social Media CEO. "These funds have accelerated our timeline for growing our staff, broadening our marketing efforts and onboarding customers."

Grinnell and IMT Group are investors in the Global Insurance Accelerator program.
Local rural entrepreneurs win award
KIMT (Stefanté Randall, October 11)

Osage, Iowa-based Performance Livestock Analytics was recently named a semifinalist in the National Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The startup received $10,000 in funding to build its Cattle Krush management platform.

“When you look at technology in today’s world and now everything’s changed from our cellphones to smart TVs, and just having digital access to information in any aspect of your life, you know farmers and livestock producers didn’t necessarily have that type of access in technology, so we’ve created a cloud base management solution for them to better manage towards profitability,” says co-founder Dane Kuper.

This is the third iteration of the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge and both previous winners were Iowa companies, ScoutPro (Lone Tree) in 2015 and AccuGrain (Rose Hill) earlier this year.

h/t Derek Balsley
COWORKQC creates community
Quad-City TImes (Jennifer DeWitt, October 15

Earlier this year, a new coworking space recently opened in downtown Davenport. Now less than 12 months later, COWORKQC—formerly known as The Creative Collective—is prepping for a rebrand and a move to a larger location. What began as a community of six members has now grown to more than 20 with more expected to join once the larger space opens. 

''Coworking is a thing in other places, but not here," co-owner Leslie Klipsch told the Quad-City Times. "We started small to see if co-working would catch on and now it is not foreign to people."

Member Spotlight: Hatchlings
Michelle Holley

It isn’t uncommon to still be searching for your passion in life several decades in. Many of us are still asking ourselves what we want to be when we grow up far into our 30's, 40's and beyond. Some of us, though, find that spark so quickly it is electrifying and it drives us further than anything we ever dreamed. 

Brad Dwyer first started programming at an age when many of us hardly knew how to use a computer, and has continued to push boundaries and challenge himself since then. I had the opportunity to chat with Brad about his Des Moines based startup Hatchlings, his background, and why he has decided to call Gravitate home.
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The Pull is curated by Geoff Wood and produced with help from Megan Bannister. Alright, alright, alright.

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