Friday, November 17, 2023

Kick Rocks Athletics (Mason City), Innovation Surgical (Iowa City), Invasive Removal Bot (Des Moines), and Ossarocco (Quad-Cities) were first-place winners when four Venture School cohorts around the state of Iowa held final pitches Nov. 14-16.

A total of $15,500 was awarded to 14 entrepreneurs.

Kick Rocks Athletics, founded by Matthew Evans, is software that provides a user-friendly solution for golf tournament management. Innovation Surgical, founded by Maria Iliakova, solves surgical bottlenecks including robotic technology and process optimization. Invasive Removal Bot, founded by Mark Vande Haar, is an AI robotic device that will go into woods and cut and spray invasive species. Ossarocco, founded by Osarodion Aigbogun, converts ambient atmosphere into electricity.     

The seven-week Venture School is sponsored by the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) and includes hub locations in Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Mason City, Sioux City, and the Quad-Cities. The statewide Venture School training program focuses on real-world experimentation, customer discovery, and Lean LaunchPad methodologies. Partnering with Iowa JPEC for Venture School are the University of Iowa Small Business Development Center, Eastern Iowa Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa’s West Coast Initiative, and The Innovation Lab Dubuque.

Venture School returns in the Spring with cohorts tentatively scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 20. For more information click HERE.

About Iowa JPEC: Iowa JPEC fosters entrepreneurship and innovation across the state of Iowa by providing a range of educational and training programs and support services for entrepreneurial ventures and existing small-to-medium size businesses. Iowa JPEC is dedicated to nurturing the growth of new ventures and assisting them in reaching their full potential.

1st Place Invasive Removal Bot Mark Vande Haar $1,200
2nd Place ITE Solutions Ben Pierson $800
3rd Place Tumbleweed Colleen Kinsey/Paul Richardson $500
1st Place Innovation Surgical Maria Iliakova $2,000
2nd Place EHS Support Source Linden Terpstra $1,500
3rd Place CenterEd Learning Environments Amy Crowell $1,000
Customer Discovery Community Wellness Center Amy Stucky $500
1st Place Kick Rocks Athletics Matthew Evans $2,500
2nd Place Digital Reimagining Ian Nelson $1,500
3rd Place Still Waters Day Spa Megan Dennis $1,000
4th Place Hertel Custom Builders Jackson Hertel $500
1st Place Ossarocco Ossie Aigbogun $1,200
2nd Place Willey Bandz Julie Willey $800
3rd Place The Giving Universe Evan Hudson $500