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ISU Startup Factory announces twelve new teams for its sixth cohort

The ISU Startup Factory has announced its sixth cohort of entrepreneurs entering the Iowa State-based program.

Twelve teams joined the program, starting with an evening kick-off reception held Thursday evening at the ISU Alumni Center, followed by a full day of programming Friday at the Startup Factory’s space at the Iowa State University Research Park.

Startups accepted into the program will receive formal training, resources and access to a network of mentors, advisors and investors. The program is divided into two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs.

“The Startup Factory is an important part of an ecosystem we are developing specifically to support entrepreneurs at Iowa State,” Interim Vice President for Economic Development and Business Engagement David Spalding said in the announcement. “At Iowa State, our focus for economic development is on the entire state, and we are proud of the tremendous impacts we have on the state economy.”

Since the program’s inaugural cohort in June 2016, more than 90 companies have been accepted into the program, 77 of which are still in business. 9 of those companies have reached a $1 million valuation.

“Since we started the program, our companies have attracted more than $20 million in venture financing including nine SBIR Phase 1 Awards, four SBIR Phase 2 Awards, 14 fundings from the State venture funding programs, 15 angel financing rounds and six institutional funding rounds,” Spalding said.

The following are the names of the twelve participating startups in the sixth cohort:

3D Health Solutions, Inc. – Founded by Karin Allenspach, Albert E. Jergens and Jonathan P. Mochel, is a 3-dimensional intestinal organoid assays for drug testing to improve predication of pre-clinical bioavailability tests.

Auchus Outdoors – Founded by Richard J. Auchus, creates compact, minimalistic camping units for adventurous outdoor enthusiasts.

Gym-N-Eat Crickets LLC – Founded by Shelby Smith, is a producer of high protein, whole-food convenience foods from farm-raised crickets for human consumption.

HomePainter – Founded by Jacob McClarnon and Anthony House, is an online platform developed to revolutionize the residential painting experience.

IdRamp – Founded by Mike Vessey, is a farm-to-market security and information platform for quality assurance and transparency across diverse agriculture value chains.

InkFlex Devices – Founded by Metin Uz and Surya Mallapragada, has developed 2D and 3D, high resolution circuits on rigid and flexible substrates, using cost-effective and green processes for a variety of electronic applications.

Kimle Aquaculture – Founded by Jackson Kimle and Matthew Ellis, produces algae-based recirculating aquaculture systems.

Sublime Stericeuticals Corporation – Founded by Shawn Stimson and Joel Lennon-Meyer, uses a novel, highly efficient process in the manufacture and packaging of freeze-dried drug products.

Tres Mentes Gourmet Foods Inc. – Founded by Phillip Campos and Angelo Campos, is creating the gold standard of salsa.

UAnalytics – Founded by Shafqat Ali Shad and Ali Jannesari, is developing embedded AI driven UAVs to execute business operations in the mining industry.

Vectr Bio – Founded by Erik Dunteman, is a data platform for cannabis breeding.

YieldLogic LLC – Founded by Priyank Pradeep and Marc Brittain, uses remote sensing and machine learning to help farmers, co-ops and companies proactively identify soil and crop health status such as deficiencies and diseases.

The descriptions of the ISU Startup Factory companies listed above have been provided by ISU.

Previous coverage

ISU Startup Factory continues to grow, announces two new cohorts -July 2, 2018

ISU Startup Factory announces twelve new teams for its sixth cohort | 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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