Techstars Iowa announces the 10 startups in its first cohort

The inaugural cohort of Techstars Iowa officially kicked off its 3-month journey today at Gravitate Coworking in Downtown Des Moines.

The cohort will run for 13 weeks, from Sept. 8 to Dec. 2020. Startups accepted into the program will receive $20,000 in funding and will have the option of taking an additional $100,000 in convertible notes.

Techstars Iowa is partnering with universities across the state including Grinnell College, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa. The investment office of Grinnell College is providing the initial funding for Techstars Iowa, committing enough money to support the program through its first three years.

The program will be lead by Techstars Iowa Managing Director, Kerty Levy. Prior to taking the Managing Director position, Levy served as the Interim Managing Director of the Iowa Agritech Accelerator. TJ Salyars is the accelerator’s Program Manager.

Demo Day of the accelerator will take place on Dec. 3.

Iowa’s ties to Techstars

Three Iowa companies—OpenLoop, Dhakai, and deetz—were accepted into the cohort.

Just three Iowa companies have landed spots in Techstar accelerators outside of the state in the past:, Bawte, and Speeko.

John Jackovin, founder of Bawte (which shut down in 2015), now runs BrokerTech Ventures, another accelerator based in Iowa. Nicole Gunderson was the COO for Speeko during their Tech Stars Chicago 2018 cohort. She is now the Managing Director of the Global Insurance Accelerator.

Meet the Techstars Iowa 2020 cohort:

Civic Champs  (Bloomington, IN)

Civic Champs enables nonprofits to do more of what matters most with the world’s easiest to use volunteer management platform that also converts volunteers into donors.  

deetz  (Cedar Rapids, IA)

deetz is a hyperlocal, anonymous app that helps you find what’s happening around you in real-time.  

Dhakai  (Cedar Falls, IA)

Dhakai is a premium B2B clothing sourcing marketplace that connects fashion brands directly to verified apparel manufacturers.

Lingco Language Labs (Lansing, MI)

Lingco is a platform for language instructors to create and deliver content. Based on student responses, Lingco predicts what parts of a language students know and makes recommendations to instructors on what students should learn next.

Neolth (Walnut Creek, CA)

Neolth de-escalates stress and health crises by using neuroscience to determine the most effective behavioral care for students.  

Ohwow! (Stanford, CA)

Ohwow! is the world’s first file sharing & remote collaboration app which is mobile-first, easy-to-use and designed ground-up for media sharing.  

OpenLoop (Iowa City, IA)

OpenLoop is a health-tech solution that intelligently matches healthcare providers with practices or hospitals seeking a quick and efficient staffing solution.  

Solelife (Raleigh, NC)

SoleLife is an AI-powered tele-coaching system built to accelerate Human Transformation. Designed to help coaches and their clients succeed.  

Tempore (Minneapolis, MN)

An artificially intelligent travel assistant, Tempore simplifies the complex act of booking business travel down to just a single click.  

WalletCard (Vancouver, British Columbia)

WalletCard is a collaborative compliance platform for issuing, tracking and managing verified occupational health & safety requirements.

Previous coverage

Techstars partners with Grinnell College to launch Techstars Iowa -Oct. 22, 2019

The descriptions of the companies listed above have been provided by Techstars Iowa.