“Having been in the startup community for the last 14 years or so through my own startup, there’s been a huge surge in the last two years in participation, in increased activity and interest around startups in the corridor,” Geonetric CEO Eric Engelmann told Silicon Prairie News.
In fact, the Kauffman Foundation released a study this week listing Cedar Rapids as the third-fastest-growing small- to medium-sized city for startup activity.
The accelerator will be housed in the company’s new 45,000 square-foot office space—currently being built in Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia district. Geonetric has partnered with ImOn Communications to supply high-speed 10GB Internet to the company’s new building.
While Engelmann says the specific qualifications for startup applicants are still being worked out, the program’s 10 slots will likely be reserved for early-stage companies. The accelerator, modeled after programs like TechStars, also will provide funding and mentorship to its startups.
“Boulder, Nashville, Kansas City and many others have built successful accelerators as part of their entrepreneurial communities,” Engelmann (left) said in a press release. “We need this type of program in the Corridor so that entrepreneurs—the risk takers, innovators, dreamers—build their companies here and keep the knowledge they’re gaining right here in Eastern Iowa. This is a long-term play: These startups will be pillars of our local economy in ten or 20 years.”
In July, Vault—Cedar Rapids’ coworking and collaboration space—announced a partnership with Geonetric that would allow Vault to move into a floor of the company’s new $5.5 million office building. While Geonetric, Vault and the new accelerator will all have their own space, Engelmann says many of the common areas—like computer rooms and a cafe—will be shared between the three.
“The idea is to foster the serendipitous types of conversations that happen when you have 150 to 200 people wedged into one building,” Engelmann said.
Applications to participate in the 90-day accelerator will likely be available in late 2013, and Geonetric’s inaugural class will begin summer 2014.
Credits: Eric Engelmann photo from Geonetric.