Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

3D Health Solutions wins 2020 Pappajohn Pitch Competition, takes home $40,000

3D Health Solutions has been announced the winner of the 2020 John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition and was awarded $40,000.

The competition is a collaborative project of the Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers located at Drake University, Iowa State University, North Iowa Area Community College, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.

24 companies made it to the semifinal round of the competition, and then to 12 for the final presentation round. The twelve finalists presented their business plan concepts to a panel of judges virtually last month.

In total $100,000 was given out in prizes to the final twelve companies.

3D Health Solutions received (1st place, $40,000)

3D Health Solutions is commercializing 3-dimensional in vitro canine cell culture lines for therapeutic drug screening purposes in both veterinary and human health applications. 

FBB Biomed (2nd place, $25,000)

FBB Biomed is harnessing the latest advancements in genetics, bioinformatics and RNA virology to develop novel approaches in combating chronic inflammatory diseases, with its first application targeting multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy. 

Roboflow (3rd place, $15,000)

Roboflow organizes, prepares, and improves image and annotation training data for developers.  Roboflow transforms raw images into a trained computer vision model in minutes. 

A fourth place award and three honorable mentions were awarded this year.  Receiving fourth place and a $6,000 award was OpenLoop, founded by Jon Lensing, M.D..  Two companies were awarded $4,000 honorable mention awards including Nigel Reuel, founder of Skroot Labs, and Jeri Frank, founder of Stratafolio.  Remaining finalists each received $1,000. 

“We were glad to have John Pappajohn join the awards celebration this year, even if we had to connect virtually.  John’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs in Iowa is admired and appreciated by everyone,” said David Hensley, director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa.

Details about next year’s John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition will be announced in February 2021.

3D Health Solutions wins 2020 Pappajohn Pitch Competition, takes home $40,000 | 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