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Cedar Valley Food Runner: Delivery in 2018

Cedar Valley Food Runner

A psychology graduate from the University of Northern Iowa utilized business resources in Cedar Falls to start his own business.

The Cedar Valley Food Runner is a restaurant delivery service for the Cedar Valley—Waterloo and Cedar Falls—region. It allows customers to order meals from area restaurants and have it delivered to their home or office.

Jake Beyer was working full time managing a yogurt shop in Cedar Falls when he founded Cedar Valley Food Runner in August of 2016 with a handful of restaurants. He said taking the idea for the Cedar Valley Food Runner through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Northern Iowa helped build out the core business.

“We’re at that stage where we are just trying to pour gasoline on the fire, hiring as many drivers as we can and getting stocked up,” Beyer, 27, says. “We are functioning like a company, evolving out of that startup stage.”

Now Cedar Valley Food Runner has over 50 restaurants signed on for deliveries, a second location in St. Paul, Minn. and another potential location in Iowa.

His partner is Russel Karim, who handles the tech side of Cedar Valley Food Runner.

How it works

For a $3.99 delivery fee, customers go to and click on the logo for the restaurant they want. Enter an address, order online and track the order.

Operationally, once the order is placed it is sent to a dispatcher where they contact the restaurant. A tablet is provided to each restaurant that receives orders.

“We get a pickup time and send our driver,” Beyer said.

The food is placed in a special bag to keep it warm or cool, depending on the food.

Cedar Valley Food Runner is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. then 4-9 p.m.

“911 dispatchers were so sick of pizza and Chinese,” Beyer says.

Community impact

He said during the program, each week he would need to present to mentors and other students about what they did to grow their idea. He credited the Pappajohn Center for helping him understand pricing and the core of the business, but also with a name and logo.

Beyer said they’ve also presented at 1 Million Cups.

“Running that yogurt shop, I got a mini business education,” Beyer says. “I fell in love with business and just got lucky to have this come up when it did.”

Beyer said while at the yogurt shop, he wanted to expand and add a delivery option. It wasn’t feasible but it identified a need in the community.

“About six months into this there was like something to this,” Beyer says. “I quit my job and took over this.”





Cedar Valley Food Runner: Delivery in 2018 | 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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