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RunStream: When app development turns from a hobby into a company


A Des Moines physician needed a hobby that he could do from the comfort of his living room but still be creative.

So he learned to develop mobile apps.

Aaron From—a cardiologist at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines—says he’s been developing apps for the last five years and has nearly 150,000 downloads on his 80 apps. His latest app—RunStream—tracks and live streams road races and individual workouts to the world. It went live in the iTunes and Android stores in December.

“The niche I’m trying to go for is when you are running a road race, like a half marathon, there’s not a lot of good options to let family and friends watch you do that run if they can’t be present or see you on the course,” From explains. “As soon as you start tracking your run you are streaming live to the whole world and anyone can see your GPS screen and see how fast, far and where you are running.”

RunStream users can follow and add friends and make their account public or private. From said it took him between 6-8 months to develop RunStream.

“I’m hoping as I talk to more people and the running season rolls into effect, we get more downloads and more users,” From said. “It saves every workout. It’s unique because it not only saves outdoor runs, it saves treadmill workouts that you enter or track workouts. And there are pre-programmed games you can follow as you run.”

Runstream is a mobile app that tracks and streams workouts to an audience in real time.

Why develop apps in your spare time?

From said he was looking for a hobby to do from home but was still creating something, so he looked into app development. Combining YouTube videos with the iTunes and Android app development programs, From says all his questions were answered.

“If I ever got stuck I went to Google and found an answer to my problem,” From says. “It’s been fun developing different apps, deciding how to do it and which apps I like to make. I decided to take it to the next level and start a company around an app to see if I can grow it into something useful that people enjoy using.”

From said he’s developed medical, productivity and fitness apps along with a few games.


RunStream: When app development turns from a hobby into a company | 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
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