Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Erica Cole wins both days of the Rose Francis Elevator Pitch Competition

On November 13 and 14, the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) hosted the Rose Francis Elevator Pitch Competition.

Over forty teams pitched their business ideas over the two day competition, in which a total of $50,000 in cash prizes was awarded. The first day of the competition was for early stage companies who have not yet achieved revenue or won more than $1,000 in business competitions. The second day was for companies with revenue or who have previously won $1,000 or more in business competitions.

Senior Erica Cole and her company, No Limbits, won first place on day one and advanced to day two, where she also took first place. No Limbits creates affordable and customizable 3D printed covers for prosthetic limbs. Cole also won first place at the Iowa Startup Games earlier this fall.

“These awards will allow me to really get my business off the ground. The University has provided so much support for me, and I cannot thank JPEC enough for their guidance,” Cole told Clay & Milk.

Below are all of the winners from the 2018 Rose Francis Pitch Competition:

Day 1 Winners:

1st Place 

  • $2,500 No Limbits (Erica Cole) *advanced to Day 2

2nd Place

  • $1,000 DeFoggles (Eric Brosch)
  • $1,000 Share Boost Athletics (Jonathan Jacobson)
  • $1,000 Tiny Baker (Brendan McCormick)

3rd Place 

  • $500 Beamers Buzzing Bee (Joseph Beam)
  • $500 TradeLink (Nicholas Eltjes, Carter Gornick, Noah Loffredo)
  • $500 UDraft (Connor Harris, Connor Greer)

Best social impact

  • $500 Cessabit (Jesse Davis)

Best retail product or business

  • $500 Wi Create (Jiwoo Wi)

Best lifestyle business

  • $500 Evolved Tents (Tyler Grandsen)

Best pitch

  • $500 Third X Charm (Allison Portz)

Best product or service

  • $500 Food Genius (Daniel Machlab)

Judges Choice

  • $500 Box of Happiness/Chemical Confetti (Sloan Hoover)

Day 2 Winners:

1st Place

  • $10,000: No Limbits (Erica Cole)

2nd Place

  • $5,000: IV Co-Pilot (Katelyn Anderson)
  • $5,000: Funny Nuggets (Jade Peterson)
  • $5,000: Students Care (Peter Easler, Jacob Newcomb,  Michael Penniman)

3rd Place

  • $2,500: Flora Keep (Eric Brosch)
  • $2,500: K&T Designs/Wanderlust Wraps (Kennedy Voss, Taylor Williams)
  • $2,500: Asonus Tech (Adam Hoffman)
  • $2,500: In2NoteBooks (Peter Seele)

Best social impact

  • $1,000: Students Care (Peter Easler, Jacob Newcomb, Michael Penniman)

Best product or service

  • $1,000: K&T Designs/Wanderlust Wraps (Kennedy Voss, Taylor Williams)

Best community impact 

  • $1,000: Comigo (Isabel Reed,)

Best pitch 

  • $1,000: Funny Nuggets (Jade Peterson)

Hitting the ground running

  • $1,000: Hype Tribe (Carly Koemptgen)

1 Comment

  • Kaylee Williams
    Posted November 29, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Well deserved, Erica! Keep building!

Comments are closed.

Erica Cole wins both days of the Rose Francis Elevator 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