Jeri Frank, of Stratafolio, presenting at the ISA's 2016 Launch Day event. 
Seven Iowa startups, including two based in the Corridor, received innovation funding from the Iowa Economic Development Authority on Friday.

New Sharon-based SwineTech Inc. received a $100,000 loan from the IEDA's Demonstration Fund for the hiring of key personnel, market planning and market entry activities.

The Demonstration Fund provides financial and technical assistance to small and medium-sized companies encourage high-technology prototype and concept development activities that have a clear potential to lead to commercially viable products or services within a reasonable period of time.

SwineTech, led by University of Iowa students Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza, has developed a sensor-based system that
uses advanced acoustic technologies to detect when piglets are getting crushed under their mothers. It then delivers an electrical impulse designed to move the sow off the piglet. It also continuously acquires and analyzes real-time data on a sow's vital signs and behaviors 24/7, and offers insight on-demand through mobile devices and an online dashboard.

Mr. Rooda and Mr. Espinoza were named
the American Farm Bureau Federation's Entrepreneurs of the Year back in January, beating out three other ag-tech startups from across the country. The company has already won about $300,000 in prize grants and raised $1.3 million in Series A funding.

Cedar Rapids-based Stratafolio received a $25,000 loan from the IEDA's Proof of Commercial Relevance fund for product refinement, proof of concept work and market analysis.
Stratafolio, founded by husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Jeri Frank and Uriel Barillas, provides online tools to automate the process of analyzing real estate investments. The couple entered the Iowa Startup Accelerator in 2016 as AssetRover, an online service providing tools for investing in residential real estate, but pivoted to focus on the needs of commercial real estate investors based on their findings.

"The data has a story to tell," Mr. Barillas previously told the CBJ. "We're trying to provide a platform to help them [investors] understand what that data means."
Other Iowa startups receiving funding included Accelerated Ag Technologies, of Ankeny; InfraDrone LLC, of Des Moines; Insulights.com Inc., of Des Moines; Optimum Fleet Health, of Davenport; and StemBox Inc., of Des Moines.
LLoebsack's Rural Wireless Access bill signed into law 
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack 
A bill introduced in the U.S. House by Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack to standardize the Federal Communications Commission's method for collecting wireless broadband coverage data in rural parts of the country has been signed into law by President Donald Trump.
The Rural Wireless Access Act will require the FCC to develop new, more accurate maps for wireless coverage. That data is used to make decisions about awarding subsidies to carriers through the FCC's Universal Service Fund, which supports communications service for low-income households and in high-cost areas. The move, Mr. Loebsack noted in a press release, will help ensure that resources to improve wireless voice and mobile internet services go to the areas that need it the most.
"Folks living in rural areas know just how bad wireless voice and mobile internet services can be," Mr. Loebsack said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the maps that the FCC currently uses are incomplete and tell a different story than what Iowans know is actually happening. I am pleased my legislation will help get resources where they are most needed, including rural communities."
Expanding broadband internet service in rural communities was a major focus of former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, and continues under the administration of Gov. Kim Reynolds. Mr. Branstad in late 2016 announced the launch of the Connect Iowa Blue Ribbon Initiative, a public-private effort to raise $2 million to expand community broadband planning throughout the state.
According to FCC and U.S. Census data, access to advanced, fixed broadband service is available to about one-third of Iowa's geography, coupled with a state broadband adoption rate of just 75 percent.
Para3This week's CBJ: Meet the farm that wants to change the world
John Myers, executive director of the Indian Creek Nature Center, in the Etzel Sugar Grove Farm hen house.
Etzel Sugar Grove Farm in northern Linn County has been farmed by five generations of Etzels, but this year it's awak­ening from its winter slumber with a new future before it.

After receiving the idyllic 190-acre farm as a gift in 2016, Indian Creek Nature Center announced plans last month to transform it into a demonstration center for practices that curtail topsoil loss, increase pollinator habitat, reduce agricultural runoff into streams and elim­inate reliance on chemical inputs.

It's a lofty goal for an organization that until now has focused more on environmental education, but to Executive Director John Myers, the stakes make it worthwhile.

Under conventional rowcropping practices that re­quire lots of chemical inputs and tillage, Mr. Myers says half of Iowa's topsoil has eroded away in the past 100 years. Strains of weeds resistant to herbicides and insects resistant to pesticides have begun to emerge as the use of chemicals increased. The low water quality of Iowa's streams and lakes has become a stigma for the state, forc­ing municipalities to use more chemicals to treat water supplies in some areas.

"We live in Iowa, and the two biggest sustainability issues for us have been food and agriculture," Mr. Myers said.

In fact, Iowa, a state once made up mostly of prairie, has become a place where few residents have ever seen a native prairie stand. Because of its rich, well-drained soils, it's one of most intensively cultivated places in the world. According to the Iowa State University Extension Office, 26 million of the state's 36 million acres of land area are now cultivated. Many more are in other agricultural uses such as pasture or feedlots.

Etzel's Sugar Grove Farm will showcase permaculture, or the planting of a multitude of different perennial species that come up year after year, requiring little or no tillage and replanting. The production methods will be organic, relying on manure and composted materials for fertilizer, and avoiding chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

The strategy has already generated some solid financial backing, which will be critical to the project's success. Corridor-based Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a longtime maker and distributor of organic products, donated a $150,000 lead gift to kick off a $500,000 funding campaign for the project's initial phase.
Read the full, members-first story in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ.

A Kirkwood Community College student studies CNC machining in a recent photo. CREDIT KIRKWOOD
Iowa community college students who transfer to one of the state's three public universities before earning a degree or certificate will find it easier to receive a credential retroactively under a new state partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit provider of educational reporting and verification.
The partnership, which utilizes the clearinghouse's Reverse Transfer service, is expected to boost college completion rates and generate a significant increase in the number of community college credentials awarded - a key goal of the state's Future Ready Iowa initiative, which calls for 70 percent of Iowa workers to have education or training beyond high school by 2025.
Memoranda of understanding between Iowa's 15 community colleges, three public universities and the clearinghouse will facilitate the sharing of student course records between the universities and community colleges. To participate, students agree to have their university transcripts sent back to their community colleges, which will determine whether the students' university courses have met requirements for degrees or other credentials. The state's three public universities are encouraging students who have transferred in with 30 or more community college credits to participate.
"Helping more Iowans earn post-secondary degrees and credentials is key to getting them the rewarding jobs they deserve and getting employers the skilled workers they need to grow," Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said in a press release. "Participation in Reverse Credit Transfer is good for students, since research shows individuals who earn associate degrees finish four-year degrees at higher rates and earn more money."
For more information, visit Iowa's Reverse Credit Transfer website.
ExploreU World of Technology, Mount Mercy University's week-long science, technology, engineering and math program for middle-school-aged girls, has earned a grant from insurer Transamerica for the fourth year in a row.
The grant will provide support for program development, student scholarships, mentor scholarships and faculty development.
"We're thankful for the generous support of Transamerica," said Elizabeth Kleiman, associate professor of computer science and ExploreU co-founder. "Their support shows they believe in our ExploreU program, and they are dedicated to advancing the STEM fields."
Entering its seventh year, ExploreU offers two sections: June 25-30 and July 9-14. The program provides role models and fun activities for girls interested in STEM. College students serve as mentors, helping to illustrate the possibilities for women in STEM careers. Math and computer science topics are integrated into hands-on workshops and an inquiry-based learning environment.
ExploreU students learn how to program using Scratch - a tool that guides practice in analyzing patterns, integrating math and computer science, 3D visualization, and more. Participants test what they learn with a challenging, campus-wide treasure hunt. In 2016, the program added Nao, a programmable humanoid robot, to its team.
"The goal of ExploreU is to provide STEM opportunities to all middle-school-aged girls-not just those whose families can afford it," Kleiman said.
Thanks to the funding from Transamerica, ExploreU costs just $60 for the week. Scholarships are also available for low-income families.
Registration will remain open until spots are filled. Find more information about the program at mtmercy.edu/exploreu, or contact Elizabeth Kleiman at [email protected].
aroundthewebFrom around the web: 
  • In case you didn't hear, a new WalletHub study has placed Iowa near the bottom of states for innovation.
  • The application deadline for the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator in Des Moines closes April 2.
  • Nationwide's commercial telematics director will be based in Des Moines, the Business Record reports.
  • KCRG reports on the Iowa Biotechnology Assocation's annual Partnering for Growth event, held March 23 in Ankeny.
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stock Corridor Stocks

AEGON AEG 6.645 -0.125 -1.85%
Alliant Energy LNT 40.52 0.68 1.71%
Deere & Company DE 152.13 -1.21 -0.79%
Dow Jones ^DJI 23,857.71 -344.89 -1.43%
General Mills GIS 45.30 0.00 0.00%
GoDaddy Inc. GDDY 60.03 -2.51 -4.01%
Great Western Bank GWB 39.18 -1.16 -2.88%
Heartland Express HTLD 18.21 -0.54 -2.88%
KemPharm KMPH 7.85 0.05 0.64%
Marsh & McLennan MMC 81.37 -0.72 -0.88%
MidWestOne MOFG 32.70 -0.36 -1.09%
Pearson PSO 10.62 -0.17 -1.58%
Pepsico PEP 107.64 0.83 0.78%
Principal Financial PFG 58.79 -0.44 -0.74%
QCR Holdings QCRH 44.20 -0.30 -0.67%
Rockwell Collins COL 135.99 -0.08 -0.06%
S&P 500 ^GSPC 2,612.62 -45.93 -1.73%
Tanger Factory SKT 22.21 0.05 0.23%
Procter & Gamble PG 77.77 1.36 1.78%
United Fire Group UFCS 46.93 -0.27 -0.57%
U.S. Bank USB 49.87 -1.42 -2.77%
Wells Fargo WFC 51.11 -1.18 -2.26%
West Bank WTBA 25.35 -0.50 -1.93%
Whirlpool WHR 152.79 -0.65 -0.42%
Short-Term Event Planner
March 28
90 Ideas in 90 Minutes, by Corridor Business Journal, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Theatre Cedar Rapids, 102 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids.It will just last 90 minutes, but attendees at the third-annual 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes event will walk away with the collective knowledge of nine of the Corridor's top leaders. These leaders will share 10 of their most successful programs and initiatives - both big and small - that can be applied to any business. Tickets: $35. To register, visit corridorbusiness.com/events or contact [email protected].
Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Your Success, by ICAD Group and Kirkwood Community College, 8:30-10:30 a.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Learn about emotional intelligence and how it you can use it to achieve positive outcomes in your business and personal life. Cost: $25. To register, call (319) 398-1022 or visit kirkwood.edu/ce.
1 Million Cups, by 1 Million Cups, 9-10 a.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Join for community connections, startup pitches and free coffee. Free. For more information, visit facebook.com/1MCICR.
Incentive Compensation Webinar, by UNI College of Business, noon. Hear from Scott Sernett on ways to ensure your best talent doesn't walk out the door. Free. To register, visit uni.zoom.us.
Power Ladies Lunch , by NewBoCo, IWLC and F&M Bank, noon-1 p.m., Eastbank Venue & Lounge, 97 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Join other entrepreneurial, professional women from across the Corridor to share resources, connections and referrals. Cost: $12. For more information or to register, visit newbo.co. 
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28 
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
A Cedar Rapids man is facing attempted murder charges in connection to a shooting that happened in downtown Cedar Rapids in January. Michael Hodges, 23, was arrested Monday at a residence in northwest Cedar Rapids. Police say Mr. Hodges was involved in a shooting in the 200 block of Third St. SE outside of Pub 217 on Jan. 28. A 21-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the upper left chest. Investigators do not believe this was a random shooting. Mr. Hodges is charged with attempt to commit murder, assault-willful injury, assault-going armed with intent and intimidation with a dangerous weapon. Police are continuing to investigate the shooting.

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Tuesday the approval of several sites to sell medical cannabidiol, including one of two in Eastern Iowa. MedPharm Iowa LLC was offered licenses in Sioux City and Windsor Heights, Have a Heart Compassion Care was authorized for Davenport and Council Bluffs, and Iowa Cannabis Company Inc. was authorized to sell in Waterloo. They have until 9 a.m. Wednesday to accept. Other applicants who met the minimum requirements but were denied a license to sell medical cannabidiol include Iowa Cannabis Company Inc. in Iowa City, and MedPharm Iowa in Cedar Rapids and Coralville. They will have the opportunity to obtain a license if one of the five license-approved sites do not accept a license. Patients will be able to obtain cannabis oil with a state permit for conditions such as epilepsy and cancer. Smoking marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, remains prohibited.
T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast
With a thick cover of snow on the ground, temperatures will once again be limited to the low 40s for Tuesday with the exception of Dubuque and far north. Dense fog develops again Tuesday night ahead of a big warm up Wednesday, when a south wind and sunny skies will push temperatures into the mid to upper 50s across the area. Most of the snow should be out of the area by then. A weak disturbance may bring isolated light rain showers Thursday morning, otherwise clouds will stick around through Sunday. Another disturbance looks to take aim on the Midwest this weekend which could bring rain again Saturday and early Sunday.