Innovation Index: BlendCard growth, Tech Town Halls and more entrepreneurial news for Feb. 6

Innovation Index: BlendCard growth, Tech Town Halls and more entrepreneurial news for Feb. 6

Welcome to a special, double helping of the Innovation Index. (Your loyal curator was out of town last week). This is our spot to round up links and stories from around the web relating to startups, innovation and entrepreneurship in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. You can help! Email me news and notes.  News and Notes: North Liberty-based BlendCard is ready to grow after receiving an undisclosed amount of funding, led by TaxAct co-founder Cammie Greif. The company, which helps small businesses set up gift card and rewards programs, has grown throughout Eastern Iowa and is partnering with local chambers of commerce to reach more businesses. Congrats! Read more via ICAD Group, the Des Moines Register. EntreFEST continues to announce a new keynote speaker each week – make sure to attend 1 Million Cups to hear all of the latest. Confirmed so far are Ben Milne of Dwolla, named one of Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies,” Jacquie Berglund of Finnegans, a beer company that donates 100 percent of its profits to feeding the hungry, and Trevor Owens, author of The Lean Enterprise. Keep up with all the latest in our running list of announcements. It looks like Iowa City-based Pear Deck will be sharing their story at SXSWedu – check them out here. Workplace (R)evolution, a Corridor-based conference dealing with workplace culture, will head to Iowa City for its second year on June 9. (Disclosure: members of the WCH team are involved with this event.) Read more via ICAD Group. The Technology Association of Iowa announced it will host ‘Tech Town Halls’ in communities across Iowa this year, starting next week in Des Moines. The Iowa City date will fall during…
Innovation Index: Women in tech, Iowa’s investment landscape and more startup news for Nov. 15

Innovation Index: Women in tech, Iowa’s investment landscape and more startup news for Nov. 15

Welcome to the Innovation Index! Each week, we’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. You can help! Email me news and notes. Plus, a new way to read this curated feature – check out wecreatehere.net/innovation-index. Better? Worse? Indifferent? Let me know. News and Notes: Check out Eric Engelmann and Andy Stoll of the Iowa Startup Accelerator representing Iowa in Washington DC. Several Corridorians visited for a SBA conference on startups. ‘Women of Innovation’ honored: The Technology Association of Iowa honored women from academia, startups and established tech companies in their annual awards ceremony. The winners include: Amy Lee, University of Iowa Peggy Watkins, Boone High School Renee Cole, University of Iowa Lisa Gran, Splashlight Susan Wood, VIDA Diagnostics, Inc. Sophia Walsh, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health Ini Augustine, SocialWise Media Group Beth Hochstedler, University of Iowa Student Winners: Krysti Knoche, University of Iowa, Kayla De Weerd, Boyden-Hull Community School, Read more via the Technology Association of Iowa and the Des Moines Register. Congrats to all! More good stuff for women in tech: the Iowa Tech Chicks hosted their second Girls Tech Career Day, exposing 16 fifth- to eigth-grade girls to careers in various aspects of the tech industry. Check out one adorable outcome on the right. Our friends at Silicon Prairie News have a new, in-depth report on the state of funding for startups in Iowa. Read and share here. The series is ongoing, with features on Higher Learning Technologies and TelePharm published so far. Congrats to the Cedar Falls/Waterloo crew for hosting “Up The Valley,” yesterday, bringing together startup community builders from...
Innovation Index: Farewell to an old friend, hello to Rise of the Rest and more startup news for Oct. 10

Innovation Index: Farewell to an old friend, hello to Rise of the Rest and more startup news for Oct. 10

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. You can help! Email me news and notes. Plus, a new way to read this curated feature - check out wecreatehere.net/innovation-index. Better? Worse? Indifferent? Let me know.  News and notes: Rise of the Rest was a highlight of the week, when Steve Case’s entrepreneurial road trip stopped in Des Moines Wednesday. Several members of the Corridor startup community attended, including Pear Deck, Re-APP, Punctil and VenueFox, who had the opportunity to pitch to Case. Seed Here Studio helped organize the trip, and it was an amazing opportunity to celebrate innovation in Iowa. Read more on We Create Here, and for more: Road trip journal (photos, videos, quotes, etc.) curated by Seed Here Studio // Video dispatch from Des Moines by Revolution // Rise of Des Moines on Flickr // Replay fireside chats from other cities via The Atlantic // AOL Founder gives startups chance to pitch via the Des Moines Register // Bawte snags $100K investment via Silicon Prairie News // Social recap via Silicon Prairie News “We can’t go back to the past, but we can invent the future,” said Dan Reed, UI Vice President for Research and Economic Development, at an economic development showcase Oct. 6 in Iowa City. The showcase highlighted several new programs the UI has rolled out in the past year: UI Partners (story, website) UI Protolabs (story, website) and Dev/Iowa (story, website). Reed also emphasized that the UI is committed to taking these initiatives statewide, with engagement centers planned in Sioux City and Council Bluffs. Check out a social recap of the day here. We bid a fond...

Innovation Index: ISA funding and more Creative Corridor startup news for Sept. 7

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. You can help! Email me news and notes.  News and notes: The Iowa Startup Accelerator recieved a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) to support it’s nonprofit arm, which manages all programming for the Accelerator. The ISA was chosen as one of 50 winners in the first Growth Accelerator Fund competition, out of more than 800 applicants. In return for the funds, the ISA will contribute to the SBA’s research on accelerator programs. Per the media release: They will be required to report metrics such as jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained among other pieces of information. This will allow the SBA to create a useful database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities. The award will be presented in Washington D.C. in November, during Global Entreprenenurship Month. Read more via ISA, SBA, Des Moines Register. And check out the winning application video above. Cedar Rapids was named the No. 8 best city to work in tech in a post from smartasset.com. Cities were ranked on percent of the workforce employed in tech, high pay for tech workers compared to the rest of the workforce, and overall cost of living. Dubuque, Iowa also made the list at No. 9. No. 1? Omaha, Nebraska. More via smartasset.com The City of Coralville announced support for autonomous vehicle testing after Mayor John Lundell visited Google’s campus last month....
Innovation Index: Invest in She finalists announced and more Creative Corridor startup news for August 29

Innovation Index: Invest in She finalists announced and more Creative Corridor startup news for August 29

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. You can help! Email me news and notes.  Quotable: “Yet, while folks in the Midwest take pride in their individual integrity and humility, Silicon Valley has some lessons to learn here. From ride-sharing companies fighting dirty to unethical executive behavior, from a self-righteous 1 percent viewpoint to the further divide of the rich and poor, Silicon Valley’s meritocratic culture means those that win win big — and think they have a divine right to flaunt it.” Here’s what Silicon Valley can learn from good old Midwestern values on VentureBeat News and notes: Ascent Iowa, an organization that supports women business owners in the state, announced six finalists for the Invest in She pitch off coming to Cedar Rapids Sept. 18. The new event is being produced by Ascent and the Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference, and will feature cash prizes. Tickets available at iwlcleads.org. The finalists are: Nikki Hynek, Dollup by Nikki Hynek (Cedar Rapids) Molly Clubb and Jaymie Feldmann, Hired Hands Software (Cedar Falls) Dr. Stephanie Gray, Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic (Cedar Rapids) Jean Wenisch, John Holladay Graphics (Cedar Rapids) Laurie Moritz, Sweet Raw Joy (Cedar Rapids) Andrea Hansen, VenueFox (Des Moines) Rise of the Rest, the road trip celebrating entrepreneurship in all corners of America, will come to Iowa Oct. 8 as part of it’s second tour. The events are led by Steve Case, the former co-founder of AOL and current chairman and CEO of Revolution, who will personally invest in a new startup...