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Tuesday AM Daily | February 14, 2023
Growers Edge announces $15M investment; Cosgrove steps down as CEO
Growers Edge announced Monday that Dan Cosgrove has stepped down as CEO, effective immediately. The company’s board of directors has selected Hollie Bunn to serve as interim CEO, a news release said.  

"As the Board and I looked toward the future, we saw a need to leverage fintech talent to complement the company’s deep ag expertise," Cosgrove said in the news release. "Hollie Bunn delivers on that need, and as she assumes the reins of Growers Edge, I am confident her expertise, steady hand, and deep connection to the ag lending industry will be invaluable as Growers Edge scales to drive growth."

Bunn has more than 20 years of experience in ag lending and joined Growers Edge in 2020 as chief lending officer and executive vice president. Her leadership has resulted in a 200% increase in the company’s network of partners.

Growers Edge also announced the close of a $15 million Series B round of financing to "position the company for long-term success." The round of funding was led by S2G Ventures and Cox Enterprises, along with existing investors iSelect Fund, Skyline Global Partners, Finistere Ventures and Bunge.

"The Growers Edge Board continues to see the massive opportunity that exists in bringing simple, customizable and fast fintech solutions that help farmers access capital, reduce risk and adopt sustainable practices," said Josh McClung, Cox Enterprises Inc. assistant vice president of strategy and investments. "I am confident the industry needs the solutions Growers Edge delivers and in Hollie Bunn’s ability to lead the team to success."

Growers Edge provides proprietary data insights, financial technology tools, and lending services for ag input manufacturers and retailers across the U.S.


VizyPay expands leadership team for national growth
VizyPay, a payment processing fintech company serving small businesses, has expanded its leadership team with the addition of Director of Independent Sales Organizations Partnerships Ricky Onofre, pictured, and Regional Directors Tod Kellen and Erik Martinez. Onofre started at VizyPay in 2019 as a sales director, a news release said. In his new role, he will maintain relationships in the sales and payments spaces and identify new opportunities for partnerships with independent sales organizations. "Our goal is to show the mom-and-pop shops of the Midwest that adopting new technology tools and CRM processes doesn’t have to be intimidating. It is my job to coach our ISO partners so they can provide that expert insight and introduce simple but powerful payments technology to small businesses that’ll only elevate their capabilities," Onofre said in the release. Kellen and Martinez join VizyPay with over 50 years of combined experience to oversee relationships within their respective regions. The two will develop business-to-business sales force teams and represent VizyPay across the Midwest and the country. Kellen is a board member of the Midwest Acquirers Association, which acts as a resource for the payments community in the Midwest. VizyPay has added 40 new staff members in the last two months, according to a company spokesperson.

CORRECTION: A story in Monday’s PM Daily newsletter picked up from Axios Des Moines about On With Life’s purchase of the now closed Big Creek Nursing and Rehab facility in Polk City contained inaccurate information. The following statement was provided to the Business Record by an On With Life spokesperson: "On With Life leases space from the state of Iowa and has operated a long-term program in Glenwood for more than 25 years. This program is in no way tied to the Glenwood Resource Center program operated by the state, the patients under their care or the relocation of those patients. The 135 state of Iowa patients that will be displaced, are not in any way connected to On With Life. We have a completely separate entity and program. … On With Life will not be relocating any of the state of Iowa’s patients at the Glenwood Resource Center to our new facility in Polk City. In addition, the $1 million grant On With Life received will not be used to relocate the state of Iowa’s Glenwood Resource Center patients."
What 2023 holds for bars and restaurants
As much as we like to try, nobody can predict the future. People and businesses are settling into the new year and preparing for what’s ahead, but what is that exactly?

The easy answer is that different industries will find that different challenges and successes await in 2023. We spoke with Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, to get a pulse on the restaurant industry and what she’s predicting and preparing for in the coming months. From navigating inflation to finding innovative labor solutions, Dunker said the industry is gearing up for another year of obstacles.

"It’s hard, because we’re an industry that wants to please people," she said. Read more

See all Business Record Insider content and become an Insider.

Kirkwood terminates programs, reduces faculty and staff
Corridor Business Journal: Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids announced Monday that it is closing or modifying three programs and is laying off faculty and staff due to low enrollment. Citing a need to reallocate resources in order to "bring future budgets in line," the university is closing the Dental Technology program and the Energy Production and Distribution Technologies program. In addition, the behind-the-wheel portion of Kirkwood’s truck driving program will be eliminated, with discussions underway to have a third party provide that training. A "small reduction" in faculty and staff will also take place as a result of program changes, previously announced facility closures and low enrollment in several programs.

Blind and deaf Iowans oppose changes in Reynolds’ agency reorganization bill
Iowa Capital Dispatch: Iowans with disabilities criticized Gov. Kim Reynolds’ government reorganization bill Monday for changes that give the governor more appointment powers over the Department for the Blind, saying it would politicize the state services. Under the proposal, the director of Iowa’s Department of the Blind would be appointed by the governor. The bill also would eliminate the authority of the Commission for the Blind to appoint officers for the commission.

GoDaddy will lay off 35 Hiawatha employees
Cedar Rapids Gazette: Internet hosting and domain-name registrar business GoDaddy announced last week it will be laying off 8% of its global workforce. Those layoffs will affect 35 employees at the company’s Hiawatha office. The layoffs are part of an ongoing plan to integrate three of GoDaddy’s other owned brands — Media Temple, Main Street Hub and 123 Reg — into the GoDaddy brand.

How firms can minimize cybersecurity risk from tech vendors

BY SARAH BOGAARDS: Many companies know that part of keeping cybersecurity threats at bay is knowing not only their own systems but those of their vendors as well. Vendors provide software and technology critical to business operations, Suman Bhattacharyya writes for the Wall Street Journal, and as businesses rely on them more, they need to know how to minimize vendors’ potential vulnerabilities. Businesses share at least some of their data with vendors, making a clear agreement on what will be shared and how an important start to the relationship. Bhattacharyya spells out four other recommendations for businesses, including making internal hires to assess vendors’ cybersecurity programs and vulnerabilities.

UnityPoint 'MyChart' app to start charging for messages to doctors
One of Iowa's biggest health care systems is now charging patients to message their doctor. UnityPoint Health has an app called "MyChart," where patients can see their test results, schedule appointments and message their doctors. Starting today, the messages to doctors will cost between $36 and $70. UnityPoint says that patients' health insurance plans will cover some of them. "This is really impacting when medical decision-making has to occur, so it is not all functions of MyChart," Dr. Patricia Newland with UnityPoint Health said. "The reason is we saw a tremendous increase in the number of patient portal messages primarily due to the pandemic." The amount people will pay is based on how much time it takes to fulfill the patients' concerns, not about the subject matter. There are exceptions to the new charges. Messages about appointments and refilling prescriptions will not be billed. Read more
Rain arriving during the morning. Slight chance of a storm to the south. Rainfall amounts of a quarter inch to a half inch likely. More in western/northwest Iowa. High around 51. Winds S at 15-20 mph, gusting to 35 mph at times.

Showers winding down, then mostly cloudy. Low 31. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph.

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600 block of Porter Avenue
2600 block of McKinley Avenue
4800 block of Southwest Ninth Street

800 block of Williams Street
3400 block of Scott Avenue
2600 block of East 42nd Street

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The Iowa Index is an unweighted average of all Iowa-based public companies. Below is a live look at those Iowa companies, plus additional companies with large operations in Iowa.
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