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New tennis app will detect when ball is out of bounds

There is always that one guy on the tennis court who will always fights line calls in his favor. Professional tennis players started using electronic line calling back in 2004, yet club players and lower-level players have been stuck fighting among themselves. Now, there’s a new app coming out that could soon put an end to arguments on the tennis court. 

Julien Duhautois and Uzir Thapa are co-founders of Line Call, a new app that will detect whether or not a tennis ball has gone out of bounds.

“During a tennis match. you typically have 5-10 points that are somewhat questionable. And you’ve got two types of players⁠—the guy who is too nice and the guy who always tends to want to cheat,” said Duhautois.

The app will work by each player strapping their smartphone to the top of a net post, with each phone facing a different side of the court. The app will then analyze each side of the court and detect when a ball goes out of bounds. When the ball bounces out, the phone’s flashlight will activate for 3 seconds.

“What we plan on doing is allowing the player who has the app to send a free invitation to their partner so they can cover both sides of the court,” said Duhautois. “And then that partner will hopefully sign up for Line Call as well.”

Upon subscribing to the app players will be sent two straps, allowing them to mount phones onto the net post. While a subscription price has not yet been decided, Duhautois says he expects it to cost somewhere around $2.99 per month.

“When you think about it,” said Duhautois,” a tennis player often pays $100 or more a month to play in a club. Then you have tennis racquets that can be as expensive as $250. You have to restring your racquet. You have to buy new tennis balls. So what’s $2.99 a month?”

The app is scheduled to come out by the end of the year. Those interested in subscribing and learning more can do so by joining Line Call’s mailing list.

New tennis app will detect when ball is out of bounds | 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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