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Hu Valuation Summit: How Human Impact Defines “Good,” Resilient Business

Hu Valuation Summit

June 7, 2024

Good, resilient businesses focus on human impact. We know this is true, because we see it all over the Greater Des Moines (DSM). Those who put their focus on the wellbeing of their employees, families and communities are the ones we gravitate to. They are the businesses where we proudly shop local. They are the businesses that will be able to weather changes, allowing them to remain sustainable and productive when less engaged businesses open and close.

Valuing this resilient “good” has long been difficult. In the business of business valuation, where cash is king, spotting a resilient company is often more “art” than science. Yet, if we could start valuing this human impact, pricing this resiliency as defensible Goodwill means more of our best companies will have more wealth to grow and retain here in DSM.

What to Expect at the Hu Valuation Summit in 2024

The Hu Valuation Summit presented by Nyemaster, taking place Monday, June 10 through Wednesday, June 12, brings a solution for this challenge of defensible, transparent Goodwill valuation to the heart of the DSM region. Organized around six roundtable work sessions featuring 12 innovative projects from around the world, experts will converge on the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates to apply a novel business valuation tool: the Human Impact Unit (Hu). Developed through work at the Indiana University Ostrom Workshop, the Hu (pronounced “Hue”) provides business owners who do “good” by putting their community at the forefront of their decisions defensible justification for higher valuations than those who are just out for themselves.

The following keynote sessions to kick off each day include Mayor Frank Cownie (retired), COP28 speaker Bill Wright of San Francisco and agriculture innovator Seth Watkins of Clarinda. Each innovative project will pitch what it does, analysts will present their valuation of the company’s “good” given the Hu methodology and all in attendance will be invited to engage, suggest or even push back on how each project should be valued. While the Summit has plenty for the business owners, investors and innovators looking for really innovative tech or sustainability solutions, the greatest value will be for the accountants, business brokers, bankers, lawyers, fund manager and nonprofit support service providers — anyone who is responsible for ensuring we fairly value “good business” in our communities.

It’s often lost in discussions around sustainability that the primary goal of “good” business is to meaningfully support its employees, customers and community for years to come. Those businesses that invest in the sustainable discipline of removing risks that would otherwise threaten their future success will be able to do more good for more of our communities. The Hu Valuation Summit will help these “good” businesses better predict their future Goodwill today.

To learn more, please visit: hu2024dsm.com

Project Highlights at the Summit

A few project highlights that could be of interest locally:

  • Biochar Now: Coming in from Denver, Colo. to talk about their slow-pyrolysis technology that cleans lakes, waterways, mine pits or even ag nutrients so efficiently that some projections show it may be able to clean the Raccoon River for as little as $20M
  • Tech for Rights”: Coming from Palo Alto, Calif. with a symbolic AI political organizing technology for activating under-represented communities — initially around reproductive rights — that is currently negotiating a partnership which could see a state-wide beta rollout during this election cycle
  • UpStream: An Iowa-based water quality sensor technology that can help water treatment plants react on demand when pollution levels spike, preventing the kinds of weeks-long shutdowns that happen too often in some communities
  • SCO2: Coming in from Minneapolis, Minn., this is the first supercritical CO2 extraction technology that can be used in a commercially scalable manner for recovering the gasses, oils or chemicals often wasted in unused/inedible food waste
  • PAT.ai: A symbolic AI tool for reducing automation interpretation errors in financial documents in a manner that reduces the computational cost by more than 95%, allowing what currently happens in a datacenter to occur on a watch or phone
  • Tumbleweed: A "deathtech" platform that helps aging individuals and their carers prepare all relevant personal information in order to minimize the cost, stress and productivity loss that currently surround end of life management

The Greater Des Moines Partnership celebrates the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneur community and helps small businesses succeed with one-of-a-kind resources and opportunities for networking. Find out how other entrepreneurs have found success by reading their stories and attending local small business events in the region.

Chris Draper

Chris Draper, Ph.D., P.E. is the Local Chair for the organizing committee bringing the Hu Valuation Summit presented by Nyemaster Good P.C. to Des Moines. He serves as a Director for local sustainability consultancy Meidh, and is a Visiting Scholar at the Indiana University Ostrom Workshop where he was influential in the creation of the Human Impact Unit (Hu).