The BIZ hosts “Startup Stories” a monthly lunch networking event where you hear real life stories from the trenches. Meet entrepreneurs who are happy to share their war stories, lessons learned and best advice. The meetings are held the third Wednesday of each month (no meeting in December). For more information, please contact


Hemesath to Recap Round One of the Global Insurance Accelerator


“I said are you nuts? Of course I’m interested,” recalled Brian Hemesath, Managing Director of the Global Insurance Accelerator, of the day Mike Colwell casually mentioned the search underway for the new accelerator’s managing director. An interview or two later and the deal was done prompting Board Chair Jeff Russell, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa to remark in a press release, “We looked nationally for the right managing director, interviewing people across the country and while we looked nationally, we found the perfect candidate here in Des Moines. Brian’s experience and passion won us over.”

Hemesath will join Colwell, Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives for the Greater Des Moines Partnership as guest interviewee at the June edition of Start-Up Stories, a presentation of the newly re-branded Square One DSM, formerly Business Innovation Zone.

For Hemesath, an established member of the Des Moines entrepreneurial community and serial company founder himself, the accelerator was an opportunity to codify his passion. For years he has served as a source of counsel and support to emerging start-ups on an informal and personal basis. His new position provided a compensated forum for him to share his insights, advice and stories of both success and failure while mentoring multiple businesses. “It’s one thing to run your own start-up, and there’s really nothing like that, but the opportunity to work with six at one time is incredible,” he would say of his experience.

The Global Insurance Accelerator is a mentor-driven accelerator designed to foster innovation in the insurance industry through startups targeting the global insurance markets and is financially supported by seven Des Moines-area insurance organizations: American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company, Delta Dental of Iowa, Farm Bureau Financial Services, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, The IMT Group and Principal Financial Group. Not only do these sponsors provide financial backing but they also provide mentors for the program. The Global Insurance Accelerator is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Coming shortly after the conclusion of the accelerators inaugural program which hosted six start-ups from across the country as well as Brazil and Germany, Hemesath expects to reflect on the session while delineating his three areas of focus leading into the 2016 class selection; more mentors, investor value and recruitment of the next class in a niche market.

“I’m extremely grateful for the mentors that have stepped up, they are the key ingredient to all of this. There will always be start-ups and there will be investors, but it is the mentors that make it happen,” he explains while noting that he will need to expand the current core group moving forward.

Mindful of the responsibility to protect investor value, Hemesath notes that while the program will have ended, the commitment to the start-ups will be ongoing and will oblige his continued involvement along with his need to recruit additional investors for future sessions. And then of course the search for upcoming participants will be on his mind.

Hemesath admits that for him the biggest change in assuming this leadership role has been the loss of the alone time associated with writing code. “Now I have about 26 minutes a day to myself” he admits, “but I look forward to work every day.” And he looks forward to the challenge of replicating the success that has surrounded the establishment of the accelerator and its inaugural session. And for an hour in June, he looks forward to telling that story to the gathered Des Moines community

$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch).
11: 30 a.m.

June 17th, 2015
Ruan II, 601 Locust
Conference Room 101

Purchase your tickets/make reservations –

Contact us at for more information.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Square One DSM for details.

Square One DSM’s mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. Square One DSM helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization.