BrokerTech Ventures, Veterans Tech Support
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
View as webpage, click here.
Business Record innovationIOWA Weekly | October 26, 2023
BrokerTech Ventures shares results of report on accelerator alumni
BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) has shared the results of its latest report on the achievements of its accelerator startups. BTV has hosted four cohorts of the accelerator for broker-centric insurance technology companies, which included 48 participating startups. Highlights from the report include:

  • 96%, or 46 out of the 48 startups that have participated in the BTV accelerator program, are still operating or have been successfully acquired.
  • The collective valuation of the four cohorts that have passed through the BTV program is nearing $1 billion.
  • BTV-affiliated startups have collectively raised more than $250 million in funding since their participation in the accelerator.
  • Over 200 proof of concepts or pilots have been initiated with BTV's partner organizations. Also, nearly 1,000 external client engagements have been directly attributed to BTV.

"One of the reasons we signed on as BTV’s first carrier partner in 2020 was because of their approach to bringing together insurtechs, carriers and brokers to address industry pain points," Bob Jenkins, vice president of enterprise distribution at Travelers, said in a prepared statement. "We continue to find value in this relationship as we uncover the power and potential of the innovative capabilities these startups bring to the insurance community."

Applications for the 2024 BrokerTech Ventures accelerator cohort open on Nov. 1.

Share the love

Forward the FREE innovationIOWA newsletter to your colleagues, and spread the word! Sign up for innovationIOWA here, or learn more about becoming a Business Record Insider here.

See something we missed? Send tips, leads, corrections, etc. to
Maple Studios member profile: Momentum Studios
By Sarah Diehn | Staff Writer
innovationIOWA is sharing profiles of the current members of Maple Studios, a startup studio for early-stage industrial technology companies based on the campus of Ramco Innovations in West Des Moines.

Jeff Reed, founder and CEO of Momentum Studios, shares about the company’s journey below. Other members of the Momentum Studios team are Chief Operating Officer Laura Reed, Business and Education Specialist Kristy Volesky and Social Impact and Marketing Strategist McKenzie Kielman.

For recent coverage of Maple Studios, visit Know a startup from around the state with an innovative idea to highlight? Email me at for consideration.

Describe what your company does.
We are a strategy and innovation consulting company that is dedicated to assisting startups, top-tier companies, and social impact organizations worldwide in transforming their strategic visions into tangible achievements. Our approach to growth encompasses both individuals and organizations, equipping leaders with the tools to excel in the future, ignite fresh perspectives, develop vital skills, and tailor the strategic process to their specific needs.

When did you start it and why?
The company was launched five months ago, branching out from a prior business I had co-founded. As industries progress, the demand for strategic partners and problem-solvers remains constant across sectors. Having initiated several businesses before, the spirit of entrepreneurship is ingrained in me, so plunging into another venture was a natural step.

What makes a startup studio the right place for your business right now?
For our business specifically, the startup studio environment allows us to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs and startups. This creates a collaborative atmosphere where ideas can be bounced around, and feedback is readily available. We have found that strategic partnerships and potential customers have been generated as well purely due to proximity and the events and opportunities that have been provided.

What do you see as the next phase of growth for your business?
We aim to expand into our own dedicated innovation studio that can be customized to cater to our team and customers' requirements. As our team flourishes, so do opportunities on a local, state, national and global scale. We've rapidly broadened our reach globally, enabling us to address challenges irrespective of their geographic location. Last, we will be focused on ensuring our customers have a seamless and positive experience.

Meet Veterans Tech Support founder Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson is the founder and CEO of Veterans Tech Support, which offers classes in technology basics to military veterans in eastern Iowa. Johnson started the nonprofit in 2021, when she was 14 years old. Two years ago, Johnson saw a need to help older veterans gain computer skills and realized that she could do something about it. A grant helped get Veterans Tech Support off the ground, and now classes are offered regularly in the Scott County area. Johnson lives in Blue Grass, Iowa, just west of the Quad Cities. Now 16, Johnson has plans for Veterans Tech Support to grow, and she’s looking ahead toward the next moves in her own education and professional careers.

"My hope for the future of Veterans Tech Support is being able to spread this nationwide," Johnson said. "Obviously, veterans struggling with technology is not a centralized problem. It’s everywhere. I have plenty of places interested, whether they’re in Iowa, Illinois, Georgia – Georgia is interested! I went to the American Legion National Convention in North Carolina because I won the American Legion Auxiliary National Junior Member of the Year, and I ended up being able to talk about Veterans Tech Support myself in front of 1,500 people, which is slightly terrifying."

Johnson is one of six women whose stories will be featured in tomorrow’s annual Fearless issue of the Business Record. On Nov. 1, Johnson will also speak at the annual Fearless Celebration.

Event details: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. | Des Moines Marriott - Downtown |  Register here
VizyPay adds two new leadership positions
VizyPay announced the appointments of Nick Maas, pictured, as Chief Financial Officer and Doug Drees as Lead Generation Expert to help scale the payment processing startup and bring its services to more small business owners. According to a news release, Maas brings a mix of strategic and analytical expertise, with more than 10 years of experience as an associate vice president and business banker. Drees joins VizyPay after helping small and medium-sized businesses increase opportunities through marketing and sales strategies for more than 15 years. VizyPay founder and CEO Austin Mac Nab said in the release that the additions to the leadership team follow several milestones this year, including surpassing $5 billion in total payments processed and expanding its staff by nearly 300%.

State awards $470,000 in Empower Rural Iowa grants
Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded more than $470,000 in grants through seven Empower Rural Iowa Grant programs. The funding will support rural initiatives including child care, housing and leadership development. The city of Logan will use a Rural Enrichment Grant to help implement its first citywide trail system, and the Carroll County Growth Partnership will use a Rural Innovation Grant to build a regional center for entrepreneurs. Rural Leadership Bootcamp Grants will help Buchanan and Story counties launch local leadership programs, and seven cities will receive Rural Housing Assessment Grants to help understand and improve local housing conditions. The awards are part of Reynolds’ Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, which she created through Executive Order 3 in 2018. Last week, Reynolds announced Executive Order 11, which amends Executive Order 3 and updates the initiative’s strategic focus to function as a startup incubator for innovative rural policy, according to a news release. For more information about the initiative, click here.

ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship recognized by global consortium

The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) has recognized the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship as highly commended in the category of Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines. According to a news release, GCEC’s mission is to facilitate global collaboration among established and emerging entrepreneurship centers across the globe. ISU's Pappajohn Center was one of 14 winners honored during the GCEC’s annual conference, attended by representatives from more than 700 university entrepreneurship programs around the world. Members of the ISU Pappajohn Center team also presented at the conference on the CyBiz Lab program and the student-operated retail store Innovate 1858.

Other news:
- IDT opens new therapeutic manufacturing facility (Corridor Business Journal)


These stories originally appeared in the Business Record's e-newsletters and weekly publication.
Sign up for our free e-newsletters to stay up-to-date all week long. Learn about membership here.

The nonprofit that lets girls build the world they want to see
Girls Garage blends arts, power tools, and STEM

MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: Emily Pilloton-Lam didn’t grow up in a particularly handy household, but she did spend hours and hours outside building treehouses out of logs and sticks: "I was more a spatial and physical thinker," she says. "And making spaces and changing my environment was one of the earliest ways I began to make sense of the world." After studying architecture at UC Berkeley and then at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she realized that the traditional world of architecture was not for her. "I quickly discovered that I don’t work well at a cubicle, or for a boss, or without getting to build the ideas that started on paper in front of me," she says. She kept coming back to what made her fall in love with building: working with her hands and with other people on projects that mattered. So in 2008, at age 26, she founded a nonprofit called Project H Design (which became Girls Garage in 2013), to equip youth with the personal power and the literal power tools to build the world they want to see.

IN OTHER NEWS: Using X-rays to peer into the chemical structure of the "Mona Lisa," scientists have published research that paints the picture of how the famous portrait was built (ASSOCIATED PRESS).
Trends in Marketing
Artificial intelligence dominates responses from local marketing leaders

The Business Record asked local marketing professionals about trends in their field over the next year, and many referenced the way artificial intelligence is posing potential changes or challenges.

Among the industries discussing the potential effects of generative AI, a main focus for the marketing sector is ensuring the technology’s influence stays outside the creative process, according to the responses.

What do you see as the biggest trend or insight in marketing for the year ahead?

Movement toward generative AI solutions within the creative process. Our industry has relied on AI solutions within the areas of media placement, market research and analytics. Those solutions are most often engineered into existing platforms, and are certainly here to stay. But when it comes to the contest of ideas, we believe human-centered creativity wins and the move toward AI-based solutions here is a mistake. Profound ideas that capture the essence of a brand, for example, come from understanding the human experience at its deepest level. That human experience is applied to each brand in a different way and through a unique context. There is a tremendous amount of nuance in that process. Understanding nuance is a uniquely human experience. We are focused more on training our creative teams to immerse themselves continually in the kind of human experience that drives genuine connection to the mindset of our target audience.
— Paul Schlueter, president, Flynn Wright

Read more

MORE INSIDER CONTENT: See all Business Record Insider content and learn more about how to receive the weekly publication. Click here
John Deere: ‘We’re a technology company’
A look at the new Smart Industrial Strategy at Des Moines Works factory
By Sarah Diehn | Staff Writer

Several turning points in the history of the John Deere Des Moines Works factory depict how the facility and its operations have adapted to an evolving agricultural and business landscape.

The first traces back to how the factory, located in Ankeny, was established 75 years ago. The U.S. Department of Defense sold the facility to John Deere in 1947 after it had served as an ammunition production plant during World War II.

Then, between 1948 and 1986, production began on the four products that the factory still manufactures today: cotton pickers (also known as combines), self-propelled sprayers, tillage equipment and grain drills. Read more

MORE INSIDER CONTENT: See the innovationIOWA Magazine online: Click here.

Nov. 14: Iowa Angel Investor Summit
Iowa Angel Investor Summit is a one-day summit for active and aspiring angel investors to come together to help accelerate the entrepreneurs who are changing the world. Capacity is limited to the first 100 people who register. The event is organized and produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Plains Angels and the Ag Startup Engine.

WHEN: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: Landus, 220 Southwest Ninth St., Des Moines
View the schedule and register on the event page.

View our full calendar to see the latest curated business and community events, or suggest an event.

Become an Insider | E-Newsletter Sign-Up | Calendar of Events | Contact Us | Privacy Policy

Business Publications Corporation Inc.

515.288.3336  |

Contact the group publisher of BPC:
Submit press release:
Advertising info:
Membership info:

Copyright © BPC 2023, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign