Meet the 2020 CYstarters Cohort

By Diana Wright, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

The CYstarters experience has helped 60 Iowa State University students and graduates start 50 businesses since the program began in 2016.

Today we grow, again.

The Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is excited to announce the 20 student entrepreneurs that will participate in CYstaters this summer. The 11–week intensive program gives young entrepreneurs the time, funding, network of mentors, and skill-set development to start something while in college. This year, the CYstarters program will adapt to include virtual gatherings due to the safety guidelines issued by the State of Iowa and Iowa State University.

CYstarters Virtual Demo Day


Meet the 14 businesses selected for CYstarters

Anchor Nutrition & Fitness — Dillon Burns

Anchor Nutrition & Fitness partners with schools in Iowa to deliver physical fitness and nutrition education programs so that today’s children do not become tomorrow’s obese adults. Dillon is a recent graduate in kinesiology and exercise science.

Learn more about Anchor Kid’s Camp at

Bloom Lash — Andrew Heller and Yvonne Speck

Bloom Lash helps makeup and beauty enthusiasts effortlessly apply and curl false eyelashes in one application so that the next evolution of makeup products is designed to match a woman’s confidence. Andrew is a recent graduate in mechanical engineering. Yvonne is a student studying liberal arts and science.

Want to be an early tester for BloomLash’s first product?  Reach out to Yvonne through LinkedIn at

Can-Do-It — Jacob Lawler

Can-Do-It provides breweries and beverage manufacturers direct to can printing and color-rich designs so that small brewers and young businesses can jump into the canning process more quickly at a cost-friendly price. Jacob is a junior studying management.

Connect with Jacob through LinkedIn at

Cards For Women — Priyankaa Krishnan and Abigail Luchsinger

Cards For Women empowers women to create safe spaces to discuss and share experiences of vulnerability, one card at a time. Priyankaa and Abigail are both graduate students studying in industrial design.

Join the conversation with Priyankaa and Abigail at

ChordaWorm Lures — John Hatfield and Benjamin Thompson

Chordaworm Lures designs soft plastic fishing lures for bass fishermen where one lure can last up to 20 catches, changing the long-game for bass fisherman. John is a sophomore studying entrepreneurship. Benjamin is a junior studying mechanical engineering.

Follow along and pre-order through their Kickstarter at

D-Ravel — Grace Rigdon

D-Ravel is a dress and travel application service to help travelers feel prepared while traveling to a new city so that they understand the culture and current trends based on season and climate. Grace is a recent graduate apparel, merchandising, and design.

Follow Grace’s dress and travel service, D-Ravel, at

Linda Tong Planners — Linda Tong

Linda Tong Planners provides handwritten planners that are personalized to each person, incorporating artwork and calligraphy throughout the pages. Linda is a recent graduate who studied event management and music.

Need to get organized?  Grab your Linda Tong Planner and receive 10% off for next 48 hours using “CYSTARTERS” at

Lokoly — Nicholas Hanstad and Joe Thatcher

Lokoly gives small business food brands the platform to tell their stories through creative services and offers a curated subscription box of premium, hard-to-find coffees. Nicholas is a recent graduate who studied marketing. Joe is a recent graduate in advertising.

Get your coffee fix and support a local roaster in this month’s Lokoly Coffee Club at

Precision Tillage — Joshua Jeske & Vikrant Sant

Precision Tillage seeks to maximize tillage efficiency by taking precise soil measurements in combination with existing technology to positively impact soil health and farm labor efficiencies. Joshua is a junior studying agricultural communications.  Vikrant is a junior in mathematics.

Connect with Josh through LinkedIn at

Rachel Reloaded — Rachel Gai

Rachel Reloaded creates rare high-quality garments from unwanted and unused garments to reduce mass consumption, textile waste, and pollution. Rachel is a senior studying marketing.

Need tailoring, alterations, or a wardrobe edit?  Check out Rachel’s work at

ROOTED Studios — Rylie Smith

ROOTED Studios offers ready-to-wear and streetwear-inspired apparel for men and women to feel inspired by the stories they have to tell by way of their sleeves. Rylie is a recent graduate in apparel design.

Check out Rylie’s newest fashion collection at

Surrebral Designs — Alexander Dill

Surrebral Designs brings together a collection of engaging experiences focused on the essence of play by designing toys, board games, video games, and exhibits. The first product is a breakable and remold-able toy kit for kids. Alexander is a master’s student studying industrial design and human-computer interaction.

Get your Breakable Remakeables, and use code ‘DEMODAY’ for 20% off at

TK Holograms — Ahmed Ismail

TK Holograms helps local businesses with storefronts attract visual attention using holographic fans so that brick-and-mortar businesses win over customers starting at the street-level. Ahmed is a senior studying industrial engineering.

Connect and talk about all things holograms and marketing with Ahmed through LinkedIn at

Vamose — Ben Grote and Anthony Ward

Viper Athletics helps active college students eliminate the need to carry extra bags by designing a new athletic gym bag that quickly attaches to a backpack to become a two-in-one bag. Ben and Anthony are both juniors studying industrial design.

Join the waiting list to be the first to know when Vamose gym bags will be available at

CYstarters Virtual Community Kickoff

If you have an interest in getting involved as a mentor, please fill out our CYstarters Mentor Network form here.

For questions or future stories, please contact Diana Wright at