Meet the 2019 CYstarters Cohort

By Diana Wright, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

The CYstarters experience has helped 44 Iowa State students and recent graduates start 35 businesses since the program began in 2016.

Today we grow, again.

We are excited to announce the 15 student entrepreneurs that will participate in CYstarters this summer. The 11–week intensive program, coordinated by the Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, gives young entrepreneurs the time, funding, network of mentors, and skill-set development to start something while in college.

The CYstarters family which makes up 44 students and recent graduates from Iowa State University over the past three years (not including the newest cohort, totaling 60 participants and 50 new businesses).

Meet the 15 businesses selected for this year’s program:

AI for Microscopy — Denis Tamiev and Paige Furman

AI for Microscopy creates artificial intelligence solutions within microscopy to improve cellular counting and classification in healthcare. Denis is a graduate student studying biochemistry and Paige is a sophomore studying biochemistry.

Camp Aramoni — Stephanie Bias

Camp Aramoni provides luxury camping experiences and offers a unique event venue located near central Illinois’s Starved Rock State Park. Stephanie is a senior studying event management.

CattleTech— Alex Irlbeck

CattleTech helps livestock farmers analyze animal health using RFID technology and visual imagery to capture key insights and allow for more informed management decisions around herd health quality and profitability. Alex is a graduate student studying agricultural engineering.

Chess Utopia — Anthony Swindell

Chess Utopia provides after school chess lessons for elementary and middle school students to enhance learning and teach the game of chess. Anthony is a senior studying entrepreneurship.

Comic Sandwiches — Grayson Burgess

Comic Sandwiches manufactures and designs high-end prop replicas for comic enthusiasts and toy collectors. Grayson is a junior studying mechanical engineering.

Courselink — Philippe Meister

Courselink aims to help teachers, advisors, and students in higher education by creating a node-network visualization to tell a better story of a student’s development & work experiences. Philippe is a graduate student studying communication and human computer interaction.

Flourish — Lauren Gifford

Flourish combines the fun of learning calligraphy with the social atmosphere of an elegant party through a blend of teaching classes, hosting community driven events, and creating weekly videos for over 75,000 YouTube subscribers. Lauren is a senior studying marketing.

Iowa Virtual Reality Labs — Brandon Jorgensen

Iowa Virtual Reality Labs is veteran-owned virtual reality lounge which provides rentable play spaces for the ultimate virtual reality experience. Brandon Jorgensen is a junior studying industrial engineering.

Jensen Applied Sciences — Dillon Jensen

Jensen Applied Sciences provides cloud technology solutions for the craft brewing industry. Dillon Jensen is a sophomore studying computer science.

One Hop Shop — Geert Boelen & Annie Zeimis

One Hop Shop produces dry-roasted and seasoned cricket snacks for human consumption as a healthy source for energy and protein. Geert is a recent graduate who studied agricultural business. Annie is senior studying management.

Pink Panda — Grant Keast

Pink Panda Aerial Media helps real estate brokers and development professionals market residential and commercial properties more effectively using high quality aerial videos. Grant is a senior studying business management.

Pock It — Lila Dougherty

Pock It creates an all-in-one attachable pocket for travelers, backpackers, and students commuting on campus. Lila is a senior studying industrial design.

Powdu — Kyrstin Myhers

Powdu provides an all natural powder shampoo capsule for environmentally conscious consumers looking for an easy-to-carry shampoo product. Kyrstin is a senior studying interdisciplinary design.

The Modern Milkman — Lauren Jones

The Modern Milkman is a grocery-style food truck which offers the essentials for rural communities fighting depopulation and limited food accessibility. Lauren is a junior studying entrepreneurship.

WashWright — Justin Wright

WashWright creates and produces robotic power washing machines for livestock farmers without the need to hire costly crews. Justin is a junior studying agricultural engineering.


It’s all about community as we kick-off the fourth summer of CYstarters!

Entrepreneurs thrive best where they have communities to draw upon–that’s why we know how special the Ames (and beyond) entrepreneurial community is to programs like CYstarters. We invite you to meet the students who will be part of this summer’s CYstarters cohort. We want to build the community by connecting friends and biggest supporters, business leaders, mentors, presenters, participants, and entrepreneurs.

Join us at the CYstarters 2019 Community Kick-Off!


When: May 23 from 4:30–6:00 p.m.

Where: ISU Research Park, Economic Development Core Facility, 1805 Collaboration Place, Ames

Interested in the CYstarters Mentor Network?

Find out how you can get involved at: