Iowa JPEC awards $125,000 during spring competition
Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Petrost Therapeutics won first place and $25,000 at the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) Innovation Challenge Awards event April 12 at MERGE in Iowa City, Iowa. A total of $125,000 was given in two divisions to support innovation across campus.

Noah Laird and Aliasger Salem are founders of Petrost Therapeutics, which aims to develop a new type of bone regenerative implant for large bone defects. They won the faculty/staff/graduate student/incubator startup division. The next four winners in that division were Scott Daly and Vamsi Karapala of Volamet Technologies (second place, $20,000), Winter Philibert and Kelsey Dawes of Relevant Methylomics (third, $15,000), Ugur Akgun of xDose Technologies (fourth, $10,000), and Madeleine Humpal-Pash, Tiffany Tran, and Garret Caltrider of Chemo Care Solutions (fifth, $5,000).

Topping the undergraduate division were Jacob Vander Sanden of Cedar Sales (first, best growth, $5,000), Ryan Gudenkauf of PTXtension (first, best technology, $5,000), Jaecee Hall and Emma Dabinett of Unbreakable Female Athlete (first, best non-technology, $4,000), Sabrina Shaw of Urban Wave Embroidery and Indya Smith-Johnson of Indya Heart Studios (first, best social impact business, $3,500), Jordan and Robert Walters of Walters and Company, John Hatfield of ChordaWorm Lures, and Jon Barns of Arblu (first, best lifestyle business, $3,000), and Andrew Lukz and Raffay Malik of AesthetixMe (best retail, $2,500).

Best overall pitch awards of $1,500 went to Isabelle Wilcox of Expeerient and Barns.

Fifty-seven University of Iowa businesses applied for the spring business model competition and 36 were selected as finalists to compete April 10 (faculty, staff, graduate students, incubator startup) and April 11 (undergraduate). An alumni division will be judged at a later date.

Iowa JPEC is the hub for entrepreneurial education and outreach at the University of Iowa. It is committed to helping students, faculty, staff, and community members launch and grow businesses.


1st Place             Petrost Therapeutics                                            $25,000

                             Noah Laird, Aliasger Salem

2nd Place           Volamet Technologies                                          $20,000

                             Scott Daly, Vamsi Karapala

3rd Place            Relevant Methylomics                                           $15,000

                            Winter Philibert, Kelsey Dawes

4th Place            xDose Technologies                                              $10,000

                             Ugur Akgun

5th Place            Chemo Care Solutions                                           $5,000

                             Madeleine Humpal-Pash, Tiffany Tran, Garret Caltrider


Best Growth

1st Place             Cedar Sales                                                                        $5,000

                              Jacob Vander Sanden

2nd Place           Robinhood                                                                           $3,000

                             Craig Bantz

Best Technology

1st Place             PTXtension                                                                         $5,000

                             Ryan Gudenkauf

2nd Place           Student Sublet                                                                     $3,000

                             Nader Rahhal, Andy Lou, Gautam Sharda

Best Non-Technology

1st Place             Unbreakable Female Athlete                                         $4,000

                              Jaecee Hall, Emma Dabinett

2nd Place           Expeerient                                                                          $3,000

                             Isabelle Wilcox

Best Retail

1st Place             AesthetixMe                                                                      $2,500

                              Andrew Lukz, Raffay Malik

2nd Place           Big Ass Rugs                                                                      $1,500

                             Tristen Smith, Nathan Andrews

Best Social Impact Business

1st Place             Urban Wave Embroidery                                           $3,500

                              Sabrina Shaw

1st Place             Indya Heart Studios                                                   $3,500

                              Indya Smith-Johnson

3rd Place            Solace Biotech LLC                                                    $2,000

                             Keegan Fogarty, Nolan Mallery, Ethan Hassler

Best Lifestyle

1st Place             Walters and Company                                             $3,000

                              Jordan Walters, Robert Walters

1st Place             ChordaWorm Lures                                                  $3,000

                              John Hatfield

1st Place             Arblu                                                                          $3,000

                              Jon Barns

Idea Stage Award

qSensor               Eric Jungers                                                               $500

Blue Heron          Tessa Petersen                                                          $500

June Health         Diego Sanchez                                                          $500

TeleNu                 Conner Boerm                                                            $500

Best Overall Pitch

Isabelle Wilcox                                                                                     $1,500

Barns                                                                                                      $1,500