Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

$12,500 in prizes awarded to Hawkeye Startup Accelerator companies

16 student-run companies from the University of Iowa pitched their business ideas last Friday as the 2019 cohort of the Hawkeye Startup Accelerator came to an end.

During the twelve-week Hawkeye Startup Accelerator program, teams of student entrepreneurs work on launching their startup idea by using Lean Startup methodologies. 

“The students in the 16 startups that were part of the University of Iowa’s 2019 Hawkeye Startup Accelerator all worked incredibly hard on their businesses and there are several poised for immediate success,” said Lynn Allendorf, Director of Iowa JPEC. “This year, based on feedback from previous participants, we developed a CEO School for the founders so they are better prepared to manage their businesses and teams. This included leadership, marketing and PR, social media, and accounting training programs.”

In total, $12,500 was given out in prizes at the final pitches on Friday.

Award winners


  • 1st Place – No Limbits, $3,000
  • 2nd Place –  Fortius Accessories, $2,000
  • 3rd Place – Meduco, $1,000
  • Best pitch – Wanderlust Wraps, $500


  • 1st Place – DeFoggles, $1,000
  • 2nd Place – Supercorn Tutoring, $750
  • 3rd Place – Solar Ponix, $500
  • Best pitch – Harvest House, $250


  • Best Intern – Stephen Paoletti $250
  • Best Founder – Dr. Dayton Trent $250


  • Most improved Team – Sips $500
  • Best use of customer discovery – Sloan Hoover, Box of Happiness $500
  • Most Dedicated founder – Eric Brosch (DeFoggles) $250
  • Most Dedicated intern- Logan Fonken $250
  • Most professional founder – Dr. Dayton Trent $250
  • Most professional founder – Kaiwai Patel $250


Best Investor pitch

  • No Limbits – $500

Best elevator pitch

  • DeFoggles – $250
  • Harvest House –$250

$12,500 in prizes awarded to Hawkeye Startup Accelerator companies | 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