CEDAR RAPIDS—On Thursday evening, more than 800 people gathered in Cedar Rapids to witness the launching of the inaugural 10 companies participating in the Iowa Startup Accelerator.
More than 140 startups applied for ISA’s inaugural class and in August. Over the last 94 days, the 10 chosen startups have honed their business model, interviewed hundreds of prospective customers, met with mentors and investors and some even changed their company entirely.
“This year we bet on the 10 (teams) and I’m beyond proud of what you guys did throughout the entire program,” ISA program manager David Tominsky said on stage. “Today was truly an amazing experience for me and I think for a lot of us.”
While the evening was a celebration of the work the 10 teams completed over the last three months, Launch Day also centered around the achievements of the community as a whole.
“We saw possibility here,” Amanda West said of when she first moved to Cedar Rapids. “We knew there were people here who were going to build the future of Iowa, who could see the future that didn’t exist yet.”
Launch Day also meant investment opportunities and the chance to pitch in front of regional and national investors for the 10 startups.
Initially, Built by Iowa announced they would award $100,000, split between two of ISA’s companies, during Launch Day, but on stage after the pitched concluded, Ravi Patel announced an additional $50,000 would be split between the remaining teams. Dreamfield Ventures also will be investing in at least one, if not more, of the accelerator companies.
Want to learn a bit about each of the 10 teams? Find out what they’ve been up to the last three months.
|Clikhome (New York) The home rental matching engineWhile Clikhome’s platform hasn’t launched yet, the startup is focused on helping match prospective renters with their dream apartment quickly and easily. With more than 20 million people wanting to find and rent new homes every single year, Clikhome has an ever-growing market for their service.|
|Kids Calendar (Lawrence, Kan.) Connecting communities & curating funWith an ever-increasing number of kids’ activities happening in your community, Kids Calendar is sourcing local groups to help promote what your kids will be most interested in directly to you. The startup employs local moms to help manage the content and has built to scale across the country.|
|HowFactory (formery Kyoger) (Cedar Falls, Iowa) We make software to better capture, use and collaborate on work instructions and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)Focused on eliminating the outdated storage of company’s Standard Operating Procedures in dusty three-ring binders, HowFactory offers a monthly subscription to help transfer generational knowledge when it comes to SOPs. The company also announced that it is under agreement to introduce its software to all 76 companies under the North American Ali Group banner. At the end of the evening, HowFactory was awarded $50,000 from Built by Iowa.|
|ProduceRun (Melbourne, Australia) Connecting farmers to their end consumerProduceRun already is facilitating sales on its platform to help bring farmers’ produce and goods directly to the consumer. The startup also launched in Des Moines this week allowing more users to contribute to farmers’ campaigns and buy locally sourced produce.|
|Punctil (Fairfield, Iowa) Punctuality solutions for healthcarePunctil’s mobile check-in, delay notifications and standby appointment booking ensure that you’re on your way to no-wait healthcare. Last week, the company received a $250,000 from MediRevv.|
|Re-APP (Iowa City, Iowa) Re-APP is a mobile application that enables user to measure and track their recyclingThe way we recycle is broken, so Re-APP is out to fix it. The startup has partnered with Kiip to reward users with Target discounts, song downloads and more when they log their recyclable items. Re-APP also has secured partnerships with more than 20 public and private recycling management programs across the state of Iowa.|
|Lendedu (Hockessin, Del.) Compare loan offers in minutesLendedu’s student co-founders wanted to make shopping around for loans quick and easy without hurting your credit score. Their platform helps students get the best rate in under five minutes. Because who wants to spend hours filling out loan applications with their parents? Seriously.The company announced on stage that they have received $50,000 from Built by Iowa.|
|SwarmBuild (Tel Aviv, Israel) SwarmBuild is a platform that connects designers, makers and startups to engineers and machine shops working in CNC, 3D printing and laser cutting.SwarmBuild announced a partnership with SolidWorks to help their 2.5 million engineers worldwide take their designs and turn them into a product. The startup launched a month and a half ago and already has partnerships with more than 20 global manufacturers.|
|Venuefox (Des Moines) Concierge event planning for businessesWith 1.3 million corporate events planned each year, Venuefox hopes to do for the event planning industry what TripAdvisor was able to do for travel. In just over a month, Venuefox has helped plan 17 events, with a composite total budget of $80,000, and has agreements with more than two dozen vendor partners.|
|Vinveli (Austin, Texas) We’re building a future rich with automation, where people and technology systems work together to build an intelligent planetWind energy is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially in the state of Iowa, but turbines can be a costly hassle to maintain. Enter Vinveli with a solution that allows autonomous drones to monitor and report on turbine conditions and maintenance needs with the push of a button.Vinveli also announced they are entering into an enterprise contract Gamesa Corporation, one of largest owners and operators of wind turbines in the world.|
Did you miss out on ISA Launch Day? Relive it firsthand through some of the night’s best tweets.