Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Tennis Line Call App wins first place at YEC Pitch Competition

Young people from all around the state gathered at ISU’s new Student Innovation Center on Saturday for the fifth annual Young Entrepreneur Convention.

The all-day event included presentations and talks from successful entrepreneurs and founders from around the state. The convention also featured a pitch competition, in which participants were given 90 seconds to pitch their business to a panel of judges. From the total pool of participants, three finalists were selected to give their pitches a second time, but in front of the convention audience.

Each of the three finalists received a cash prize and trophy. The first place cash prize was $3,000, with $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Each finalist also received an IP package from Zarlan Law Firm.

Julien Duhautois took home the first-place prize for Tennis Line Call App, a mobile app that turns tennis players’ phones into an impartial Artificial Intelligence referee. The app works with each player setting up their phones on tripods, with each phone facing a different side of the court. When a questionable bounce takes place, players can use their Apple Watch or raise their arms straight above their head for 3 seconds to trigger a challenge. The flash and sound on the phone will then indicate whether the ball was in or out. 

In second place was Holly Bennett, a graduate from the University of Iowa who is developing agricultural sprayers that reduce waste by only targeting the necessary plants. Jay Amin, an Iowa State graduate, won third place for pitching an app that streamlines ways to keep track of personal health.

Previous coverage

Young Entrepreneur Convention set for October 30 in Ames -Oct. 27, 2021

New tennis app will detect when ball is out of bounds -Sept. 18, 2019

Tennis Line Call App wins first place at YEC Pitch Competition | 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