NewBoCo introduces summer batch of start-ups

Iowa Startup Accelerator selects three companies

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CEDAR RAPIDS — NewBoCo’s Iowa Startup Accelerator program named three companies for its summer batch of 2017 cohorts.

Accepting up to 10 companies throughout the year, NewBoCo announced Agro Connected, Cargofy and GOVRED Technologies into the accelerator Monday.

An intensive program, ISA coordinates start-up tech companies with mentors, seed funding, sprint demonstrations and other programming opportunities to provide the organizations with chances to succeed in Iowa.

To be accepted, companies must have a connection to Iowa, either through starting the business in the state or having intentions to do so.

Of the three start-ups selected, only one has a direct location to Iowa, in Center Point, the other two having a home base in Battle Creek, Mich., and in Kiev, Ukraine.

Agro Connected, the Center Point, Iowa business, crafted its start-up around the idea of “developing a network of low-cost, high-impact farm management tools to help small family farmers keep pace with technology in agriculture.”

The company hopes to integrate new technology while farmers continue to use their old equipment.

“The networking that it gives us lets us connect with our customers a lot,” said Ryan Weekly, CEO of Agro Connected. “We’re hoping to get connected with our customers, make sure we’re resolving the problem that they really have, and then in the fall we’re hoping to beta test with some local farmers and then roll out in a larger scale.”

Cargofy aims to work with technology in the trucking industry while GOVRED Technologies wants to develop virtual reality training systems for the military.

Stakh Vozniak, Cargofy chief executive officer, said his company has a customer base of about 3,000 in Ukraine through its mobile app and that his business hopes to expand into the U.S. market through the accelerator program.

GOVRED Technologies builds virtual reality training simulators for military and government agencies, said its chief executive, Chase Dittmer.

“Basically, it does everything so that a normal soldier could do a full boot camp or training, but they can do it in a safe and controlled environment,” Dittmer said.

Over the course of the year, Dittmer said GOVRED Technologies hopes to have its training in about 100 military bases.

“These are all industries that we can find strong, corporate partners for,” said Molly Monk, ISA program manager. “We have a lot of experience in our mentor network for these start-ups. And on some levels, there are a lot of similarities no matter what when you’re starting a business up.”

The program, which transitioned from a 90-day program to a 12-month program this year, will allow for the start-ups to garner more personalized attention but also permit those not accepted in one of the batches to be able to apply up to three times a year.

Another batch will be accepted in the fall.

l Comments: (319) 368-8531; alexandra.connor@thegazette.com

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