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Business Record innovationIOWA Weekly | May 30, 2019
Seneca Cos. partners with ChargePoint to add EV fueling options
By Joe Gardyasz | Senior Staff Writer
Des Moines-based Seneca Cos., a supplier and services provider to the retail petroleum industry, announced this week that it has partnered with ChargePoint, a California-based electric vehicle charging station network. As a signature partner, Seneca will represent ChargePoint’s entire product line and provide product support throughout Seneca’s footprint in the Midwest, South and mountain regions.

The partnership allows Seneca to integrate ChargePoint into its fueling market offerings in both the consumer and the commercial markets, said JC Risewick, president and chief operating officer of Seneca Cos.

According to a current company fact sheet, ChargePoint’s network provides more than 64,200 total charging spots and more than 1,170 Express DC fast spots, with more than 55 million charges delivered. It has dozens of charging stations in Greater Des Moines, ranging from city parking garages and hotel parking lots to stations at Hy-Vee and Kum & Go stores.

Seneca has not previously worked with ChargePoint, so none of ChargePoint’s existing charging stations were installed by Seneca, but the company will now be available for servicing those stations and adding new ones, said Jodi Solomon, Seneca’s marketing director.

"We want to be cutting-edge on technology so that we can serve both existing customers and future customers," Solomon said. Denver, where Seneca operates a location, will be a major target for sales through the partnership, she said.

Solomon anticipates that commercial e-vehicle fleets will drive growth initially. The company will be targeting convenience stores, hotels and various types of retailers. Seneca hasn’t made any sales projections yet for the charging stations, she said.

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University of Iowa employee wins cybersecurity fellowship
Gabriella Perez, research technology compliance specialist at the University of Iowa, is one of six inaugural Trusted CI Open Science Cybersecurity fellows nationwide, reports the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The program is under the National Science Foundation’s Cybersecurity Center for Excellence, and Perez can access weekly digital presentations from cybersecurity experts and will receive funding to travel to three technical conferences this year. Perez’s new fellowship role will strengthen the university’s information security standing and competitiveness in research grant applications, representatives from UI said.

How blockchain is transforming trade
It may have been overhyped, but blockchain technology is real and coming on in a very big way, reports the Corridor Business Journal. Streamlining international trade finance is becoming a high-demand application for blockchain technology, eliminating multiple copies of documents and narrowing the time needed to complete international trade transactions.

Health department seeks to expand innovation accelerators into more states
Funding is available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for organizations to provide specific biotechnology innovators with technical and entrepreneurial support to accelerate product development, HHS announced Wednesday. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Prepardness and Response, established eight accelerators in 2018 through an initiative called the Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures. Applications for funding to become an accelerator are due by July 23. Details on the application process are available at Funding Opportunity Number: 316344. Applications may be submitted through

Tyler Technologies’ Socrata Solution to help manage data for state of Iowa
The state of Iowa has launched the Socrata Connected Government Cloud (SCGC), announced Tyler Technologies Inc., based in Plano, Texas. SCGC allows policymakers to leverage data on social and political issues, including crime and public health. Iowa’s adoption was prompted by requirements of the state’s Accountable Government and Taxpayer Transparency Acts, which set expectations for planning, performance reporting and making spending and results data more accessible to the public, Tyler Technologies said.

VentureNet Iowa's LaMarche retiring; Greenwald to be managing principal
Adrienne Greenwald, current director of communications and public relations at VentureNet Iowa, will succeed John LaMarche as managing principal effective July 1, VentureNet Iowa announced Wednesday. LaMarche, who has served as managing principal since 2008, is retiring but will remain for a while as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition, the company said. Greenwald will lead the VentureNet team as it administers the state of Iowa’s Innovative Funding programs for small business. She joined VentureNet in 2012 and has served as the director of communications and public relations since 2013.

North Polk High School student chosen as Iowa winner in Doodle for Google competition
Chloe Laizure, a senior at North Polk High School in Alleman, is one of the 53 state and territory winners in the 11th annual Doodle for Google competition, a contest open to K-12 students across the U.S. to redesign the Google logo, Google announced today. Laizure’s design was chosen from thousands of entries inspired by the theme "When I grow up, I hope …." The national winner will take home a $30,000 college scholarship, and their school will receive a $50,000 tech package toward the establishment or improvement of a computer lab or technology program. Voting for the five finalists is open nationally June 3-7 online, and Google will make the final announcement in June, when the winner’s doodle will be featured on the homepage for a day.

LenderClose fully integrates with Simplifile
Des Moines-based LenderClose, a web-based underwriting and lending assistant platform, has integrated the e-recording platform Simplifile, which functions as an electronic liaison between lenders and country recording offices, LenderClose announced this week. Simplifile claims to have deployed its platform in 50% of all U.S. recording jurisdictions, with a goal of reaching the remaining 50% in 2019. The integration continues LenderClose’s strategy to provide lenders a single point of access to the housing industry’s top vendors, the company said.


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Astronomer captures video of SpaceX's 60 Starlink satellites in the sky

BY KATE HAYDEN: If there is any place you might half-expect an alien encounter, camping in the South Dakota Badlands might be on the list. Yet, my skeptical partners and I were floored when we looked up from the campfire over Memorial Day weekend and saw a thin line of interconnected lights too fast to count, trailing tightly across the night sky. We tried getting video, but nothing showed up on camera -- just audio captured of us guessing what the hell we were looking at.

Luckily, an astronomer in the Netherlands captured what we didn’t know we saw -- 60 Starlink satellites launched May 23 by SpaceX, the start of a project meant to encircle the world with high-speed internet satellites. Interestingly, the sharp visibility of the satellites has already sparked concerns of interference with scientific observation and radio astronomy.

My chance to claim I witnessed a true UFO lasted only two short days -- but it left a satisfying memory of four friends gazing up at space across the prairie.

IN OTHER NEWS: Artificial intelligence can now erase the Tiananmen Square massacre from Chinese memory online (FAST COMPANY); How will 5G interact with weather forecasting? (MADISON.COM); In other 5G news, the BBC blames carrier EE’s just-launched network for disappointing transmission errors during a live broadcast (VENTUREBEAT).
Iowa's shallow VC pool remains a challenge, but 'good deals are getting funded'
By Joe Gardyasz | Senior Staff Writer

Building innovative companies requires ready venture capital that is willing to bet on companies that might come up with the next big thing or just as easily fizzle.

Iowa, along with the Midwest, lays claim to just a sliver of the venture capital dollars that flow copiously from Silicon Valley, New York and Boston. Looked at from a basic economic perspective, the demand for venture deals in the Midwest outstrips the supply of Midwest-based venture capital by a ratio of 3 to 1, according to Adam Claypool, a principal with Bridgepoint Merchant Banking in Des Moines.

The relative scarcity of venture capital makes it a more challenging market in which to find funding in Iowa, but seasoned entrepreneurs and investors alike agree: Solid deals are going to attract and find capital.

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June 14: TAI's Iowa Tech Open
The Technology Association of Iowa's Iowa Tech Open is an opportunity for business and technology leaders to gather for a day of golf, networking and business development at the beautiful Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City.
WHERE: The Tournament Club of Iowa
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June 21: Trust Workshop | Sequence VIII: Ethics & Risk Management in a Digital World 2.0
This workshop is a next-generation discussion of digital world issues. After a brief introduction describing the Trust Risk Management Philosophy and Strategy, this workshop will provide a review and update on the ethical, legal and risk management dimensions of technology. It will focus broadly on these issues related to digital record-keeping, telepsychology, digital communications and social media. The workshop is applicable to all sites where health services are provided.
WHERE: Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale
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