Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Finalists announced for TS Bank’s “Rev” pitch competition

The five finalists for a $27,000 pitch competition have been announced.

TS Bank—a bank in Western Iowa—announced the finalists for its “Rev” pitch competition Thursday. They are:

Rachel Cain—Marketing and Event Coordinator for TS Bank—said TS Bank received 16 applications for the competition.

The finalists will pitch Dec. 1 for a chance to win $27,000 for their business. The final pitch competition will be held at “The Venue” within Harrahs in Council Bluffs.

Cain said each founder will have five minutes to pitch their business and judges will be given ten minutes to ask questions.

“Our judges were looking for something that helps with local economic development and helps provide jobs,” Cain says. “Who is providing the most for others? Who is really pursuing something that helps a lot of people and will be impactful in the communities that they serve? That was something that definitely put some contestants above others. Who needs the money that could be a better impact. Those were two things that gave people an edge.”

Previous competitions had a $25,000 grand prize but Cain said Revela of Omaha—a three-time sponsor—donated an additional $2,000 to this year’s prize money.

One company could receive the entire $27,000 grand prize or it could be split between several companies.

Katie Byers—founder of HomeDitty—said she was impressed with how well run the pitch competition has been and commended TS Bank for their work investing in the Midwest entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“While in Council Bluffs for the preliminary round of live pitches, TS Banks staff was incredibly welcoming and their enthusiasm for the event was evident,” Byers said. “HomeDitty is truly honored to be named a finalist amongst a group of very impressive startups.”

Cain said more applications came from Des Moines this year and that overall, the applications were a higher quality this year.

“We are getting some well-established companies with good ideas,” Cain says. “Just like the name, “Rev” we Rev up our contestants and it gets harder to stick.”

This year’s judge panel includes:

  • Andrea Frederickson, CEO of Revela,
  • Allie Esch of Dundee Venture Capital,
  • Daniel Koenig, CEO of Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce
  • Nathan Preheim, co-founder of The Startup Collaborative.

TS Bank’s REV Finale will take place from 6-8:30 on Friday, Dec. 1 at ‘The Venue’ within Harrah’s, Council Bluffs.

Networking and appetizers begin at 5 p.m.; pitches start at 6.

This event is free but guests are asked to register here.


Finalists announced for TS Bank's "Rev" pitch competition | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now