Four walls, some desks, free coffee and community

With a new location and new legal structure, Vault Coworking is home for Cedar Rapids’ entrepreneurial community In startup speak, MVP stands for minimum viable product, or the version of a fledgling idea that can launch, publicly, with the least amount of work. Time- and cash-strapped entrepreneurs treat their assumptions as just that – educated guesses at best – and work quickly to bring their MVP to market and see what happens. For three years, the Cedar Rapids startup community itself has been living with an MVP – a physical space tucked away in a corner of the Guaranty Bank Building, with offices retrofitted into every nook and cranny, donated furniture and intermittent climate control. Now, with a new physical home in New Bohemia and new legal structure, Vault Coworking and Collaboration Space is ready to become what it was always meant to be. “Moving Vault here, starting the Accelerator, being in New Bohemia – now we’re going to see everything go to, not just a new level, but 10 to 20 new levels,” said Amanda Styron-West, co-founder and CEO of Seed Here Studio. Vault officially merged with the nonprofit that manages the Iowa Startup Accelerator’s programming on August 1. “It always felt really weird to me to say that I owned Vault, because Vault is a community of people… For that to be under a legal entity that was an LLC, was a very awkward thing,” Styron-West said. “I feel like now the entrepreneurial community has a fitting home for the importance it’s going to play in the next generation of Cedar Rapids, and in Iowa, and in the…
14 more photos from the Iowa Startup Accelerator launch

14 more photos from the Iowa Startup Accelerator launch

Yesterday’s Iowa Startup Accelerator media announcement was a flurry of activity - for the first time, the first 10 teams to participate in Iowa’s first 90 day accelerator were named. That’s a lot of firsts. We’ve dedicated a lot of words to the Accelerator so far, and have many more to come. The project is truly ambitious, and by placing it in the heart of New Bohemia, the founding team has been strategic about maximizing its impact. But for now: enjoy the photos. <>Nick Kljaic, President & Co-founder and Junjie Shi, CEO & Co-founder of Clikhome (New York) talk to the news media at the Iowa Startup Accelerator announcement at the Geonetric building, 415 12th Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids on Monday, August 4, 2014. (Justin Torner/Freelance for the Gazette)  Find full coverage of the Iowa Startup Accelerator’s class of 2014 here.  PS - If you’ve flipped through photos from Creative Week, EntreFEST or other events in the Corridor, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen the work of photographer Justin Torner. Little Village Mag has a Q+A with the man behind the...
Seed Here Studio teams up with Steve Case for ‘Rise of the Rest’ road trip

Seed Here Studio teams up with Steve Case for ‘Rise of the Rest’ road trip

Seed Here Studio, headed by Amanda Styron-West and Andy Stoll, announced this morning that it is teaming up with Revolution and UP Global for a summer road trip - startup style. Seed Here is a co-producer of the ‘Rise of the Rest’ bus trip. (Find the full announcement after the jump.) The tour is being led by Steve Case, the iconic entrepreneur who founded AOL and served as chairman of the Startup America Partnership before it merged with Startup Weekend to form UP Global. Seed Here Studio previously produced the first ever UP Global summit, in Iowa City last fall. “What we’ve found is that the stories of Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City, and Iowa, are inspirational to other cities,” Stoll said. “To continue to build those relationships across the midwest is exciting.” Each stop will include pitch competitions, a local investment by Case, meetups, happy hours and speeches. In essence, Stoll said, each is a mini-EntreFEST - another event produced by Seed Here. Stops in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Nashville have been announced for the week of June 23, and Stoll said more stops are possible. “It’s a truth that startup communities are blossoming everywhere,” he said. Follow along at riseoftherest.com and #RiseoftheRest. Media release: Washington, D.C. – May 22, 2014 – Revolution and UP Global today announced that they will embark on a four city, four-day bus tour through the heart of America. Spearheaded by Steve Case, the tour will highlight emerging startup communities and bring attention to a rise of the entrepreneurial rest that is taking place throughout the United States. “It’s important to remember that America itself was once a startup, and...

Innovation Index: This Week in Creative Corridor startup news

Welcome to the Innovation Index*! Each week, I’ll round up** links and stories from around the web relating to startups, innovation and entrepreneurship in Iowa’s Creative Corridor and around the state. This is a content experiment and I’d love to hear feedback on whether this is useful. -Sarah Quotable: “I think the untapped potential is being inclusive to communities that aren’t traditionally at the table — particularly people who make less than $35,000 a year, people who don’t have a college degree, African Americans, immigrants, and Latinos. When you say the words innovation, creativity or entrepreneurship, or even community leadership, you don’t often see those people in the room.” — Andy Stoll, co-founder of Seed Here, on how the startup and innovation community can be more inclusive. Read the full story on Axiom News (A Gazette Company partner) Shout outs:  Mission Creek announced the addition of a tech conference to its lineup; we have an interview with the orgainzer. ClusterFlunk announced it has acquired more than 10,000 users since it’s scale up and that the next school to reach 5,000 users would get a trademark CF party. The Des Moines Register profiled Higher Learning Technologies’ new investor, former ACT CEO Dick Ferguson. Collective Data, a Cedar Rapids software company, announced a record year in revenue growth. Applications are open for presenters at i2iowa, an annual conference for investors and innovators by the Technology Association of Iowa. (via Silicon Prairie News) Mark your calendar: Feb. 11: Angel Investing informational meeting. Information on Eventbrite. Feb. 11: Change Makers of Iowa, first meeting. Information on Meetup. Feb. 12: Lunch and Learn on the Business Model Canvas....

Mark your calendar: EntreFest! returns May 14-16

With a new look and four new tracks, EntreFest!, will return to Iowa’s Creative Corridor May 14-16, 2014. The downtown Iowa City edition will be the seventh annual two-day conference on entrepreneurship in Iowa. The conference travels around the state, and was held in Cedar Rapids last spring. EntreFest! is a program of the regional business center at the University of Northern Iowa, which is working in partnership with Cedar Rapids-based Seed Here Studio to produce the event. Andy Stoll, of Seed Here, said that this year’s conference will feature four tracks, aimed at different groups: small business owners, high growth startup companies, innovators inside of existing companies and economic developers who support small businesses, startups and innovators. More announcements, including speakers, are expected soon. In the meantime, check out the promotional video below, and follow EntreFest! on Facebook for more updates. Earlier: Startup Weekend returns Feb. 28-March 2 What news about innovation, startups or entrepreneurship should we feature in this space next? Drop me a...