AMES, Iowa (August 23, 2023) – On August 1, 2023, the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship proudly announced the members selected for the fourteenth Startup Factory cohort.

Cohort 14 currently consists of 19 members running 10 business ventures, either individually or in teams. Startup Factory continues to expand its reach beyond the walls of Iowa State University with two ventures from Kenya, one from California through our institutional partnership with Loyola Marymount University, and one from the east coast, whose European parent company is seeking to establish an Iowa-based U.S. division. “The ISU Startup Factory is expanding its footprint by taking an opportunistic approach and, in doing so, will strengthen one of the core principles of the program, which is our commitment to helping founders build a business network. The members of cohort 14 will have an opportunity to understand the challenges, similarities, and differences of building and operating a business inside and outside of the Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Hong, highlighting the benefits of these partnerships to the newest cohort.

The ISU Startup Factory is open to technology-based, scalable ventures led by ISU scientific faculty and community members across Iowa. Over an 18-week period, these 19 cohort members will participate in workshops focused on enhancing their communication skills, developing business acumen, and understanding their customers. They will leave prepared to pursue non-dilutive funding for their technology and commercialization plan.

Since 2016, the Iowa State University Startup Factory has supported 115 ventures across 13 cohorts. The lasting impact of the program is seen in the $57 million raised in funding by these companies since participating in the program. For program director Hannah Kirkendall, “The value of the Startup Factory technology incubator lies in the diversity of ideas and experiences available to its participants.”

The 10 new ventures launched by the individuals and teams of Cohort 14 include:

AfriBioHub (Joshua Magu Gichuhi): Reaching out to the scientific community by simplifying experiments and providing low-cost reagents to researchers with limited resources. (Partnership with Kenyatta University and AfriBioHub).

Bovi-Jet (Dakota Belling and Eugene Meyer): We make automated medicinal application systems that cattle pass underneath, making it easier for cattle producers to maintain a healthy herd by saving time and money.

Molsynth (Maurine Mumo and Harrison Waweru): Availing CRISPR technology to you and your team for accelerated rapid diagnostics innovations and genome editing. (Partnership with Kenyatta University and AfriBioHub).

NarrateAR LLC (Karri Haen Whitmer, Ph.D, Chris Whitmer Ph.D): Like our own child, one in six students struggle with special needs. We build personalized AI co-pilots for learning that grow with your child to unlock their full potential.

Research led by Chunhui Xiang Ph.D and AKM Mashud Alam, Ph.D: We developed a simple sensor for equipment-free on-site detection of organophosphate insecticide via color change.

Rise Energy (Jordan Funkhouser, Tannon Daugaard Ph.D, Ryan Smith): Technology that enables industrial processors to generate value from underutilized biomass streams through conversion to carbon-negative fuels and products.

Torrgreen (Dr. David Finegold): A Dutch biofuel start-up that is coming to the U.S. to scale up a breakthrough, portable technology that can turn a wide range of plant feedstocks into renewable energy at the site where the plants grow.

UpcyclingPlus (Akalanka Tennakoon and Xun Wu): We make an alternative fuel from waste plastics, giving heavy transportation fleets a cost-effective way to reach their decarbonization goals.

WhatAreThose (Chidinma Kalu, Sean Brown, Soumya Pattanayak): For streetwear enthusiasts who have a hard time finding the best deals for products they want, we built an AI marketplace to help customers identify, shop, and sell sneakers, streetwear, and luxury fashion.

Loyola Marymount University REACT Lab (Brendan Smith, Ph.D.): In the U.S., insurance typically covers only the first several weeks of in-patient stroke rehabilitation, leaving upwards of a million Americans with arm impairment too severe to benefit from the most effective at-home rehab tools. We make the only affordable, clinically validated at-home rehab device that fills this gap in these individuals’ rehabilitation journey.

To learn more about each of these ventures, be sure to attend the Startup Factory Demo Day event at the Iowa State University Research Park Core Facility Atrium on December 5 at 5:30 pm. The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is thrilled to support Cohort 14 as they explore new technological innovations.