EntreBOLD: July Edition


ISU Startup Factory Demo Day Showcases Remarkable Growth in Innovative Ventures

On Wednesday, May 22, the ISU Startup Factory celebrated Demo Day! This event concluded the 18-week-long incubator program and featured business pitches from eight promising startup companies, along with two companies from the Iowa Go-To-Market Accelerator program.

The companies showcased on Demo Day demonstrated significant progress over the past 18 weeks and came prepared with commercialization plans to present to an audience full of mentors, community and university supporters, and potential investors. To highlight a few:

CornGro Limited: Led by Kimani Wilson from Kenyatta University, CornGro is revolutionizing agriculture in Africa by commercializing biotech seeds that empower farmers with resilient, high-yielding sorghum varieties. The company has already registered, formed a competent team, and achieved early field results for a new sorghum breed ideal for brewing beer. They are in conversation with East African breweries and aim to launch their product by 2027.

PEAK Engineering: PhD candidate Andrea Boord, alongside Professors Ossama Abdelkhalik, PhDand Paul Koola, PhD, is developing cost-effective wave energy converters. PEAK Engineering aims to sell controls to existing wave energy companies and eventually create utility-level wave energy converters. They are currently seeking connections with investors interested in wave energy and advisors to help them scale their business.

To read about all of the ventures that participated in this event, head over to isupjcenter.org/news/

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On Friday, May 17, three Startup Factory alumni companies were awarded funds through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)! The award recipients are as follows:

Bovi-Jet, (Startup Factory Cohort 14), based in Granger, makes devices for cattle producers to aid in animal health, according to the announcement. The product aims to reduce the time and manual labor required to treat livestock throughout their lifetime by using sensors to detect the movement of cattle and pour a stream of medicine along the animals’ backs with a farmer’s existing chute system. The company was awarded a $50,000 POCR (Proof of Commercial Relevance) loan for IP development and evaluation, proof of concept work, product refinement, key personnel and equipment, and market planning and entry activities.

Tractor Zoom (SUF Cohort 3), located in West Des Moines, offers online solutions for the farm equipment and heavy machinery market. Its primary platform, TractorZoom.com, streamlines the process for buyers to find, value, and finance equipment. Its cloud-based business-to-business platforms, Tractor Zoom Pro and Anvil Pro, help value, manage, and sell equipment assets. The company received a $1 million Innovation Acceleration Expansion Fund loan for key personnel.

Gross-Wen Technologies (SUF Cohort 1), headquartered in Slater, provides a patented algae biofilm treatment system under the RAB brand. The technology enables the effective and sustainable use of algae to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater. It can also be used with clean water to grow valuable algae for various uses that include fertilizers, bioplastics, and biofuels. The company was awarded a $500,000 Innovation Acceleration Propel Fund loan for key personnel and equipment.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) aims to enhance economic and community vitality by fostering partnerships and utilizing resources to position Iowa as the preferred location for both people and businesses. Through its two primary divisions – business development and community development – IEDA manages various state and federal programs to support individuals, communities, and businesses. IEDA is committed to achieving its mission and goals to benefit Iowans while ensuring a high level of transparency.

Congratulations to Bovi-Jet, Tractor Zoom, and Gross-Wen Technologies.

The ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to celebrate the remarkable achievement of Haber Technologies, which has been acquired by Shivvers Manufacturing. This partnership has led to the formation of the Shivvers Technology & Innovation Group (STIG). By combining Shivvers’ extensive experience in grain drying and handling with Haber’s cutting-edge technology, STIG aims to provide farmers with advanced tools to tackle the challenges of modern agriculture.

“Through a joint and mutually beneficial decision, Shivvers and Haber are excited to partner and merge the reputation that Shivvers has built in the grain drying and handling industry with Haber’s passion for empowering and transformational technology to create STIG – the Shivvers Technology & Innovation Group,” said Carl Shivvers, President of Shivvers Manufacturing. “Our mission at STIG is to get technology in the hands of as many farmers as possible to allow them to meet the challenges of a modern farming economy. This marriage allows the opportunity to build upon the synergies between Shivvers’ established drying solutions and the cutting-edge technology Haber already offers in way of real-time remote grain storage monitoring & automated conditioning, ultimately creating a more comprehensive solution for farmers”.

Eric Harweger, Co-Founder of Haber Technologies, highlighted STIG’s vision to be the go-to technology provider for farmers, ensuring sustainable and efficient farming operations. The synergy between Shivvers and Haber signifies a major leap towards a technologically advanced agricultural landscape.

Haber Technologies, born out of an idea from an agricultural engineering class at Iowa State University, has made significant strides since its inception. The company’s rapid growth and innovative DRI-Stack® system have already benefited farmers across 10 states.

The ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to have supported Dillon, Eric, and Steven Brockshus (COO) from Haber Technologies through various programs, including CYstarters (11-week accelerator program) and ISU Startup Factory (18-week business incubator program). For more information about STIG and its initiatives, please visit www.StigAg.com.


Read the Full Story!

This series, facilitated by Clair Williams-Vavra of Creative Spark Studio, covers a range of topics crucial for startup success, from sales foundations to solution selling for SaaS.

Clair is an entrepreneur and consultant leading business initiatives related to improving sales, operations, and workforce culture.

These sessions are open to all startup founders, regardless of business model, and are currently offered in person only. No hybrid options are available at this time. Sessions will be held one Friday per month from April to July at the ISU Research Park Core Facility.

For any inquiries, please contact ISU Startup Factory Program Manager Hannah Kirkendall at hkirkend@iastate.edu. Registration is open, and participants have the option to register for individual sessions or the entire series. No prerequisites are required to attend.

Join us to enhance your understanding of sales and drive your startup’s growth!


Register HERE

When: Tuesday, July 30 | 3:00pm – 6:30pm
Where: Research Park CORE Facility Atrium
(1805 Collaboration Pl, Ames, IA)

The 11–week intensive CYstarters program gives young entrepreneurs the time, funding, network of mentors, and skill-set development to start something while in college. As our ninth CYstarters summer accelerator program comes to a close, it’s time to put these student entrepreneurs front and center! Listen and learn more about each startup at the 2024 CYstarters Demo Day when each of the CYstarters venture teams pitch their businesses. A networking reception will follow.


Register HERE

1 Million Cups is back!

1 Million Cups Ames is a weekly event that brings together entrepreneurs and the Ames community over coffee and conversation.

1MC meets every Wednesday morning at 7:30 am at the Ames Chamber of Commerce. Join us to hear from local entrepreneurs and business owners in the Ames community.

Interested in presenting? Contact Jean Walsh at jeanw@iastate.edu.


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And be sure to check out our website, www.isupjcenter.org to learn more.
Copyright © 2023 Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, All rights reserved.

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