The who, what, when, where and why of the Iowa Startup Accelerator

The who, what, when, where and why of the Iowa Startup Accelerator

  By Eric Engelmann and Sarah Binder Ready. Set. Grow. Iowa’s first intensive startup accelerator is now taking applications. Accelerator programs are typically highly competitive. The young businesses that get in are supported with intensive training, mentoring from industry experts and funding to help them grow. Iowa’s first such program will last 90 days, beginning on August 4. Similar programs exist around the world and around the Midwest: in Wisconsin (Gener8tor in Madison and Milwaukee) Illinois (TechStars in Chicago), Nebraska (NMotion in Lincoln and Straight Shot in Omaha), Missouri (SparkLabKC and Sprint’s TechStars mobile health accelerator  in Kansas City and Capital Innovators in St. Louis) and more. “We’ve got some great people doing amazing things with startups all over the state. We have coworking spaces in Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids and elsewhere.  We have some really great events going on. But one thing that other states have built, that we haven’t, is a time-boxed accelerator program,”  wrote Eric Engelmann, CEO of Geonetric and one of the founders of the Iowa Startup Accelerator. Applications officially opened Feb. 19, when Engelmann appeared at 1 Million Cups in Des Moines. In the first month of the accelerator program, startups will focus on the foundations of launching a business and building connections to a pool of mentors. The second month will include a series of weekly product iterations as entrepreneurs work to quickly prototype and validate their products. The third month is all about getting ready to pitch before a demo day at the culmination of the program. “You compress learning in a really really short time frame,” Engelmann wrote. “That means an incredible mentor network,…