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Created in the Corridor: IA Startup Accelerator

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Ten young startup companies from Iowa and around the world are now accelerating their plans for growth in Cedar Rapids.  They are the inaugural class of the new Iowa Startup Accelerator, Created in the Corridor.

The Iowa Startup Accelerator is the brainchild of Eric Engelmann, CEO of software company Geonetric, in whose building the accelerator now operates. Thanks to local investors and collaborators, the Startup Accelerator provides seed money, mentoring and other resources to help fledgling businesses realize their dreams. "This city is entrepreneurial to its roots and I think we're just adding fuel to a fire that had already been burning," says Engelmann. "It's just really about continuing the entrepreneurship that's already been going on here and maybe kicking it up a notch."

The accelerator evaluated 130 applicants who wanted to be part of the inaugural class and on Monday, introduced its first ten teams. "ProduceRun's" William Pattison came all the way from Australia to build an online farmers' market.  "We specifically looked for an agriculture partner, someone who understood what we're trying to do...and Eric and David (Tominsky) knew what we were trying to do straight away and we just felt there was synergy there and they
have mentors that are going to enable us to build a product that actually solves the problems of the farmers."

And from Des Moines, "Venuefox" is working on the first online guided event planner.  Explains Co-founder Andrea Hansen, "We started out with a need to find venues and caterers for planning all of the things that happen in our lifetime--a shower, a bachelorette party, a business meeting. We wanted to be that everyday place you come to time and time again to plan things."

Each of the ten teams gets $20,000 in exchange for a 6-percent equity investment in their business.  They have three months to work on their business model and will then pitch their ideas to the public and potential investors.

David Tominksy, the accelerator's program manager, wants the entire Corridor community to know that people are welcome to offer resources. "I think there's an opportunity for anybody that wants to be involved to be involved. I would encourage anybody that thinks they have a skill set or a connection that'll help push these companies forward, I certainly want to talk to them."

If you would like to see the Iowa Startup Accelerator and the entire space in the new Geonetric building, you can register for an open house tour on Friday, August 8th.  We have a link to the registration site in the News Links section of this website.
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