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This startup is offering virtual reality experiences throughout Iowa

Iowa Virtual Reality Labs (IAVR) is a new virtual reality entertainment company that offers indoor and outdoor virtual reality experiences in Iowa.

IAVR can be set up indoors or in one of their custom virtual reality trailers, which is primarily used at parties and events.

“I served four years in the army and while I was in the army we did a lot with simulators, very similar to virtual reality,” said Brandon Jorgensen, founder of IAVR. “That’s how I first got involved with it.”

IAVR encompasses a wide variety of experiences, allowing you to play games alone or with friends. Some of the games offered include 3-D drawing and sculpting, exploring Earth and other worlds, flight and racing simulation, boxing and sword fighting.

“Last year I started studying Industrial engineering at Iowa State. From there, just through professors I got interested in the business side of virtual reality,” said Jorgensen. “After looking at it a while, I saw that a lot of people were developing new software but nobody was providing the entertainment and actually helping it grow in the Midwest.”

Jorgenson spent eleven weeks this summer in the Pappajohn Center’s CYstarters accelerator program.

“The mentors really helped me realize that I needed to start off at a smaller, mobile concept,” said Jorgensen.

Going forward, Jorgensen says he hopes to expand the number of trailers they have, allowing the company to expand its coverage area.

IAVR will be available to experience at to tomorrow’s Party in the Park in Urbandale from 5 – 10 pm.

Previous coverage

Fifteen companies pitch their ideas at CYstarters demo day -Aug. 2, 2019

This startup is offering virtual reality experiences throughout Iowa | 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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