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EntreFEST 2022 kicks off with ISA Launch Day

EntreFEST 2022 started off strong on Wednesday night with Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA) Launch Day. Five businesses going through this spring’s and last fall’s ISA Foundation Accelerator pitched their companies live at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City.

The Iowa Startup Accelerator is a 6-month program that matches Iowa-based startups with seed funding, mentors, and product development expertise to accelerate their businesses.

Here are the five businesses that gave presentations on Wednesday night.

Line Call

Line Call enhances sports experiences by turning amateur players’ phones into an impartial AI referee. The Tennis Line Call app indicates when a tennis ball lands in our out-of-bounds offering a fair game to those who use it.

The company has completed developing its app for iOS and has plans to raise funding later this year and begin developing the app for Android.

Sprayer Mods

Sprayer Mods upgrades farmers’ existing agricultural sprayer equipment with a camera that uses artificial intelligence in real-time to identify weeds while applying herbicides so that chemicals are sprayed only where weeds are found, reducing herbicide use and costs by as much as 80 percent.

The company has developed a prototype and completed initial field testing and has plans to launch a marketing campaign and get 20 paying customers by Q1 2023.


Haggle is a bartering marketplace dedicated to helping farmers access and lease equipment and services when not in use on their own farms. The Haggle platform enables peer-to-peer bartering and financial transactions between farmers to buy, borrow and hire goods and services.


Groov is a software as a service platform for residential land developers that organizes all of their land development data in one place, eliminating many manual processes and improving the consistency and accuracy of their information.

Groov currently has four pilot customers on the platform and was awarded a $100,000 IEDA Demonstration Fund in May 2022.

The Hummingbirds

The Hummingbirds helps companies generate awareness and sales through local social sharing. Hummingbirds are community members who share experiences on social media with their own friends and followers, introducing people to new brands in their community.

The company has over 250 brand partnerships in Des Moines and recently expanded to Omaha and Milwaukee.

EntreFEST 2022 kicks off with ISA Launch Day | 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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