Middle Bit: LunchSox and HomePainter win the 90 Seconds for $900 Business Pitch Competition

On Tuesday, LunchSox and HomePainter were the winners of the 90 Seconds for $900 Elevator Pitch Competition.

16 students participated in the competition, sharing their entrepreneurial ideas in hopes to win one of two $900 start-up prizes. This was the second annual 90 Seconds for $900 Elevator Pitch Competition and was a part of Agricultural Entrepreneurship Week at Iowa State University

Other events for the week included an agriculture startup showcase, a keynote event on future opportunities in agriculture and a conference on building a more vibrant ecosystem for agricultural entrepreneurs.

Both LunchSox and HomePainters took part in the 2018 cohort of Cystarters, a 10-week program that provides students with financial support, professional resources and educational workshops for startups.

What else is happening?


Travel Labs Inc., a startup that aims to make it easier for corporate travelers to arrange flights and hotel stays, has closed on $500,000 in funding to ramp up product- and business-development efforts. –Minneapolis Business Journal


SimpleRose Inc., a St. Louis-based company closed a $13 million deal on October 15 with undisclosed investors.  The company, founded in 2018 by Xiaolin Gong, Marti Martindale and Carl Ledbetter provides an optimization platform for decision-making. – Silicon Prairie News


Divvy Homes, a real estate startup that allows would-be homeowners to pay a portion of rent while investing equity, has raised $30 million in Series A funding for its rent-to-own platform. The funding round, which will help expand Divvy Homes’ platform in Cleveland, Memphis and Atlanta, was led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.  –Inman