National Search for Managing Director of the Global Insurance Accelerator Culminates in Des Moines
The future of the insurance industry is happening in Des Moines as the Global Insurance Accelerator continues its path toward a 2015 launch. The Accelerator has announced the appointment of Brian Hemesath, a well-known serial entrepreneur, to the role of Managing Director (MD) beginning in mid-Dec. 2014. He replaces interim MD Tej Dhawan.
“We looked nationally for the right managing director, interviewing people across the country,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa and Board Chair for the Global Insurance Accelerator. “And while we looked nationally, we found the perfect candidate here in Des Moines. Brian’s experience and passion won us over.”
The role of the managing director is crucial to the Global Insurance Accelerator in many ways. The MD is the key person managing the 100-day long class of startup companies, helping them get the most out of the opportunity. The MD is ultimately responsible for maximizing the startup companies’ success. Brian will lead the mentor process, leveraging potentially more than 100 mentors to provide the best feedback and direction possible for the startups. One measure of success will be the ability to attract capital investment in the startups and in his role, Brian will be working directly with both local and national investors.
In leading the Accelerator, Hemesath’s background provides the key elements needed to succeed in this role. A graduate of Iowa State University in Computer Engineering, Brian has been a founder of several companies including Diligent Information Services, Catchwind, and VolunteerLocal, all of which have customers nationally and even globally. Additionally, he has successfully sold enterprise software and integration services in mid-market businesses. Brian also serves as co-chair on the Entrepreneurial Advisory Council of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.
Brian’s personal experience in several startups combined with his long-term commitment to mentoring local startups allow him to lead by example in his new role.
“Working with and mentoring startups is my passion,” said Hemesath. “I am thrilled to be able to focus on this full time and in such a key industry.” Brian has a solid understanding of what investors expect from a startup company and is focused on helping these companies deliver revenue and results.
“We’re very excited to have Brian onboard as the new Global Insurance Accelerator managing director,” said Doug Fick, vice president and chief information officer of U.S. Insurance Solutions at Principal Financial Group. “Brian’s entrepreneurial experience and passion, coupled with a strong cadre of engaged mentors from across the Des Moines insurance community positions us well.”
Those interested in applying to the accelerators are encouraged to do so by the Jan. 15, 2015 and can learn more at globalinsuranceaccelerator.com. Potential mentors are also encouraged to apply.
The Global Insurance Accelerator is backed by seven local 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. The Global Insurance Accelerator is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Please contact Mike Colwell, mcolwell@DSMpartnership.com or (515) 286-4950, for more information. Media inquiries should be directed to Amy Baker at (515) 286-4919 or abaker@DSMpartnership.com.
About Global Insurance Accelerator
Launched in 2015, the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) fosters innovation in and for the insurance industry via a mentor-driven, 100-day program. GIA supports an annual cohort by providing each graduate company $40K of seed money in exchange for six percent equity. During the program, cohort members get insurance-specific mentoring via 1:1 meetings with industry executives, as well as basic business infrastructure assistance, coaching on garnering investments, and product-specific insights into strategies for increasing applicability to and feasibility for the insurance industry. The GIA extended network includes insurance company investors, startups and mentors from across the global business and insurance communities. For more details please visit globalinsuranceaccelerator.com.