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Comigo lets students join forces on projects, set to launch this fall

A new Iowa City-based startup is helping college students find collaborators on their own campus.

Comigo is a web-platform that allows college students to find on their own campus.

“Comigo was founded on the idea that collaboration in college should be easy,” said Isabel Reed, founder and CEO of Comigo. “And unfortunately, due to campus silos, that’s not always the case.”

Reed gave an example of when she had a passion project of my own and had difficulties finding students to help her with her project.

“I had a web series I was trying to produce and needed actors. I tried to connect with the theatre department across campus but the channels to connect with them were incredibly slow and bureaucratic,” Reed said. “After weeks of trying, I had no one. For my last resort to solve the problem, I actually made a Tinder account to recruit students and after one really uncomfortable week, I had my team.”

Using the Comigo platform, students are able to browse the student projects and startups that are happening on your campus that are seeking some kind of support. On the other end of that, if you have a project of your own, you can find your team or the one person you really need to have a conversation with.

Comigo will be launching at the University of Iowa this fall.

Initially, Comigo will focus on getting their platform into local schools that are close to or in Iowa.

“The reason for starting out local is that it allows to be close to every campus we’re launching at,” Reed said.

Reed recently graduated from the University of Iowa and took part in many of the university’s JPEC programs during her time there.

“The JPEC programs at the University of Iowa have been invaluable. I was introduced to all these resources was through the IdeasStorms competition,” Reed said. “Before that, I had no idea that any of the JPEC resources programs existed but once I went to that competition, they kind of pulled back the curtain to all these really awesome things that are happening.”

Comigo lets students join forces on projects, set to launch this fall | 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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