CYstarters Spotlight: Jonathan Duron


By Lindsey Murray | ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship

CYstarters Spotlight: A 14-part series highlighting student entrepreneurs pursuing their business ventures as part of the CYstarters 2024 summer cohort. Through this program, students have the unique opportunity to prioritize the development of their own startup or business idea. Each individual receives $6,500 and access to resources such as mentorship, networking opportunities, and educational sessions on entrepreneurship and business startup.

Jonathan Duron: Engineering Innovation and a New Vision for Car Dealerships

Jonathan Duron, a Software Engineering student and an aspiring entrepreneur, is on a mission to revolutionize how car dealerships manage their vehicle information with his new venture, TagLink.

The Genesis of TagLink

The inspiration for TagLink, an iOS application designed to streamline data management for car dealerships, came to Jonathan just three months ago. A family member, overwhelmed by the inefficiencies of paper-based record-keeping at his dealership, turned to Jonathan for a solution. The problem: Mechanics frequently misplace critical information kept on paper documents, causing significant delays to their work and frustration for both parties.

Jonathan’s initial research revealed a gap in the market. Existing solutions were either outdated or inadequate. He briefly considered QR codes and numeric inputs before settling on a more sophisticated technology: Near-Field Communication (NFC). Similar to the technology behind Apple Pay, NFC allows for effortless, short-range wireless communication.

Jonathan came up with this idea just one week before the College-by-College Pitch Off hosted by the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship. He met with Megan Graettinger, Assistant Program Director at the Pappajohn Center, to discuss his idea and figure out how to turn his idea into a reality. She encouraged him to participate in the competition, and Jonathan pitched his idea, receiving first place in the semi-finals and an honorable mention in the finals. This further validated his idea, and he began looking for the next opportunity to continue working on his business. For Jonathan, it became clear that participating in CYstarters was the next best step.

Jonathan pitching TagLink in the preliminary rounds of the 2024 College-by-College Pitch Off.

Navigating the Challenges

Jonathan had previous experience developing Android apps but creating an iOS version proved to be an entirely different beast. “I assumed they would be similar, but they’re completely different,” he admits. With no mentors readily available, Jonathan had to teach himself how to integrate NFC technology and cloud storage.

Beyond the technical challenges, Jonathan faced the equally daunting task of selling his product. Communicating with dealerships in a way that makes them understand and value TagLink is a new skill he is developing. His participation in the CYstarters program has helped him to solidify his business one-liner so he can present TagLink in a concise and engaging way.

With the first version of TagLink completed, Jonathan is now ready to pilot the app with interested dealerships. His goals for his summer spent in CYstarters are ambitious: secure ten dealerships for testing his app, establish a website and gain his first subscriber. Long-term, he envisions building a small sales team and attending dealer auctions to sell TagLink directly to car dealers.

Taglink Logo

“My personal goal is to have 50 subscribers by the end of the year,” he shared. He’s also working diligently to expand his business knowledge. He is confident in his ability to develop the technology for TagLink, but feels he has much room for growth when it comes to running a business. These skills are not generally taught in his engineering classes, so he is grateful to CYstarters for giving him access to the resources he needs to make strides in this area.

Words of Wisdom

Jonathan’s journey is a common one for aspiring entrepreneurs. They often have the passion and the specific skill to produce their product, but not the business acumen. Jonathan’s advice to entrepreneurs in this position is simple, “Be open-minded and willing to take risks.” Despite facing skepticism due to his age and limited experience, he encourages others not to be discouraged. “Continue pursuing what you enjoy,” he emphasizes.

For Jonathan, the CYstarters program has been a game-changer. “I’ve never been surrounded by so many like-minded people. We support each other, vibe off each other’s creativity, and provide honest feedback,” he reflects.


Be sure to join the Ames community in supporting CYstarters cohort 9 on Demo Day! Demo Day is an opportunity for each of our CYstarters venture teams to pitch their business and share the progress they have made over the summer. The event is open to the public. Please register at Let’s support our CYstarters and celebrate their successes together!