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Created in the Corridor: Company Updates

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - "Created in the Corridor" has featured dozens of homegrown companies and entrepreneurs over the past eighteen months. And it's exciting to see that many of our local innovators are not only surviving but thriving. Here, now, are just a few examples of their accomplishments since first being highlighted on CBS2 and FOX28.

The founders of Higher Learning Technologies in Coralville had just created college test prep applications for dental and nursing students. "We went from our Dental App and had some good results, we were in 60 countries with that," said Adam Keune, Marketing Director for the young firm.  "But then this nursing one came out and in two months we had over 100,000 downloads, we have users in 113 countries." Now, HLT's nursing product is the number one grossing education app in both the Google Play and Apple App Stores. And it just released a new study app for the Medical College Admissions Test. The startup is also hiring thanks to $1,000,000 HLT received from several local investors. 

In Iowa City, another tech startup is helping college students achieve success. Social media website ClusterFlunk is a virtual meeting place where students can collaborate on assignments and study for exams, each class having its own wall. Explains Co-Founder, A.J. Nelson,  "In that class wall you can ask questions, attach files, upload your lecture notes and study guides.  Anyone can download those files. And then you have the capability of instant messaging all of the students in your class."  ClusterFlunk expanded its platform to more than fifty universities across the country this year. And its two Prairie High School founders just received a $1,000,000 investment from a Chicago-based firm. That investment is allowing ClusterFlunk to open an office in the Windy City. 

Anna Sobaski took a long road to entrepreneurship. Diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 1999, the Iowa City native eventually founded Breads from Anna which is now producing a dozen products from banana bread to pie crust mixes, all gluten and allergen free. "We ship all over the world. Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, Europe," said Sobaski. You can also find her products in many Corridor grocery stores. Breads from Anna is now up to twelve employees and recently was GMO Free certified.

Expanding in Swisher, Cedar Ridge Vineyards, Winery and Distillery is doubling its production facility to the tune of $1,100,000. It's adding several thousand square feet to accommodate its growing whiskey business. "We sell a lot of bourbon in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado," said founder Jeff Quint. Now Cedar Ridge products are also in California and Nevada. The company currently produces more than 15 spirits and liqueurs and more than 20 wines.

Finally, a Cedar Raids company that operates seven data centers across the U.S., including one in Marion, is now building its eighth in Boise, Idaho. Involta Founder and CEO Bruce Lehrman says his co-location centers serve myriad industries. "We do have customers everywhere from Global 500 companies to small startup companies. We have from health care organizations to government to manufacturing." The company recently secured a $50,000,000 equity investment from M/C Partners of Boston, the largest investment in Involta's seven year history.

We'll have updates on other featured companies in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, if you know a good fit for "Created in the Corridor," send email suggestions to Scott Sanborn at slsanborn@cbs2iowa.com.
 
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