Monday, March 4, 2019

The first weekend of March we had the privilege of hosting the Spring 2019 Iowa Startup Games. This is a three-day event where students, from all areas of study, pitch their ideas to have an impact.

We started out Friday night with 74 participants pitching 30 ideas. From those pitches, 10 strong ideas were selected by the students to move forward and teams are formed. After the initial Friday night pitches, we experienced students dropping out for various reasons. This process left us with 10 committed teams developed from 42 participants.  

The students started planning Friday night for their business, and spent all day Saturday assigning roles, doing research, customer discovery, and meeting with business coaches.  By Sunday morning, they had a four minute pitch in place with slides and other visuals.  Our 10 team then competed in front of three judges, faculty, and peers at the historic Kinnick Stadium Press Box.  The top three teams were awarded cash prizes, as well as a Judge’s Choice and audience selected People’s Choice.These students represented a variety of majors and backgrounds, making this competition an invaluable experience for team building, discipline, and innovation.

As you will see below, our winning students represent a wide variety of academic areas. Congratulations again to our Spring 2019 Iowa Startup Games winners!

1st Place ($1,000.00) | Clean Slate – Expert service analyzing online presence of new hires to find right fit for employers

  • Lance Junck, English & Creative Writing
  • Rakshud Daver, Neuroscience
  • Daniel Lopez, Marketing
  • Tara Bendre, Marketing
  • Madi Hayes, Enterprise Leadership

2nd Place ($750.00) | Urbaniste – Public engagement app focusing on spread of local governmental issues and information

  • Anshuman Sahu, Mechanical Engineering
  • Vern Ancelet, Art
  • Emily Legel, Urban and Regional Planning
  • Chukwuebuka Ogwo, Oral Science PhD     

3rd Place ($500.00) |  Slingshot - Soft skill development for today’s job market

  • Hector Trejo Peno, Economics
  • Nicholas Dusold, Enterprise Leadership
  • Jesse Davis, Enterprise Leadership
  • Hyunki Min, Economics, PhD
  • Alex Borchers, Enterprise Leadership

Judges Choice ($500.00) | Abee's Honey – Infused honey for healthier lifestyles          

  • Nathan Davidson, Management
  • Paul Flanders, Chemical Engineering
  • Justin Morrison, Pre-Business

People’s Choice ($250.00) | Aesop – Learning language through immersive storytelling program

  •  Many Archer, Journalism
  • Isabelle TeDuits, Marketing
  • Joshua Nichols, Enterprise Leadership
  • Nate Le Sage, Computer Science
  • Austin Johnson, Business                                     

In addition to the cash awards, teams are recognized by a student group of 9 organizers who are also present the entire weekend.   These students have participated in Iowa Startup Games in the past and are there to assist the teams with advice and guidance. They recognized the following teams with these awards:

  • Best Customer Discovery: Clean Slate
  • Most Presales: Clean Slate
  • Customer Discovery Standout: Abee’s Honey
  • Largest Pivot: Wildfire
  • Most Committed Award: Urbaniste
  • Iteration Award: Total Aroma
  • Marketing Award: Abee’s Honey
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Award: Natural Nectar
  • Individual Sustainability Award: Nick Simone (Nick organized the weekend’s recycling program for all composting items, cans, paper and plastic)