Venture School Student Accelerator Final Pitches

Thursday, August 4, 2016



On July 21, one of the hottest days of summer 2016, members of the community came together to get fired up over the graduation of the Venture School Student Accelerator participants! Over 33 students, representing 9 teams, came to pitch for the audience and compete for cash prizes. The teams gave it their all in front of several of Iowa City’s most experienced entrepreneurs, who served as judges for the event. Leslie Nolte, Adam Ingersoll, Lesley Triplett, and Kurt Heiar listened to each team’s 6-minute pitch and followed up with a short session of Q&A.


Student Accelerator Award Winning Teams

LOCAD: Best Pivot, $1,000

Eventfull: Best Pivot, $1,000

Adventurist: Best Pitch, $1,000

Herdmaster: Best Customer Discovery, $1,000

Streamweaver: Best Startup, $2,000


Lisa Ferguson presented her business Adventurist, which aims to become the go-to online resource for adventurous women travelers. During the first week of having an operational website, Adventurist got 95 hits to their website, of which 85 were unique. Ferguson jokingly added that her mother “has only visited the website ten times, which isn’t too bad.”


Dental I, started by cosmetic dentist Eman Ismail, seeks to strengthen the miscommunication between dentist and lab technicians with their innovative software application. Ismail explained that in cosmetic dentistry, patients’ smiles are examined by dentists and the caps and other instruments that transform their smile are crafted somewhere else by a lab technician. In this process, miscommunication can happen, resulting in expensive re-do’s and unhappy patients.


One of the last teams to pitch their idea was Herdmaster, headed by Josey Jewell from Decorah, Iowa. Jewell, the youngest child in his family, grew up on a cattle farm and always got stuck with the worst chores. “Pitching manure and checking fences were easily the worst jobs on the farm, and they always got passed down to me,” he explains. The long hours he spent doing these tasks led him to create Herdmaster, a virtual fence for cattle. The team hopes to reduce the environmental damage that comes from poorly grazed cattle, as well as keep cattle safely within their enclosures at a price that farmers can afford.


A full list of the teams who pitched today can be found below.


Adventurist | Lisa Ferguson, Nicole Jardine

Culturally Connected | Elizaveta Strueva, Calvin Peng-Bulger, Jee Hyang Ha, Alex Gudenkauf

Dental I | Eman Ismail, Azzam Hassan

EZ Park | JR Xayasouk, Paul Ruales, Tyler Hendershot, Alex Charipar, Dylan Menke

LOCAD | Niall Oliver, Hannah Correll, Grant Lewis, Matthew Poulton

Herdmaster | Josey Jewell, Tyler Kluver, Bo Bower, Kevin Ward, Peter Pekar

Blue Vine Media – Solomon Productions | Kofi Manteaw, Ebenezer Cammock, Chatell Collen

Eventfull | Rebekka Henry, Rebecca Meyer, Jisoo Lee

Streamweaver | Keevin O’Rourke, Shamus Roeder, Wes Merrill, Athena Dinh

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