The Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem is special. We’re an innovative community of builders that also genuinely wants to help each other. One community-driven event that truly showcases Iowa entrepreneurs is 1 Million Cups Des Moines.1 Million Cups (“1MC”) is a national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. If you’ve never heard of 1 Million Cups, here’s a short history lesson on how this weekly event has evolved in Des Moines, … [Read more...]
Startup Stories is a combination network and interview event.
“I think what we’re doing here is the future of accelerators,” declared Brian Hemesath, the Managing Director of the Global Insurance Accelerator. “We’re not the first, but the niche focus along with the corresponding focus of the mentors is the key to the program and to its success,” reported Hemesath at the June edition of Startup Stories, a production of Square One DSM. Hemesath was providing the gathered members of the startup community and interested onlookers an unofficial post-mortem of the first edition of the accelerator program that had ended only a few weeks before with its … [Read more...]
“I didn’t start this having any idea what I was getting myself into, I really had no idea,” admitted Ben Milne, CEO of Dwolla and arguably Iowa’s best known and most successful of the current crop of tech entrepreneurs. “However I got deep enough in and so close to personal bankruptcy that I had no choice but to make it work,” Milne explained to Mike Colwell, Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives for the Greater Des Moines Partnership as well as long-time friend and mentor to Milne.Fresh from the successful launch of Dwolla’s partnership with BBVA Compass and on the heels of a week where … [Read more...]
“This is where I walk you through my mid-life crises,” started Casey Nieman, Founder of AgriSync as he began to relate his own startup story as the guest of the March edition of the Business Innovation Zone’s Startup Stories Luncheon. While delivered with a smile, Nieman’s opening remark held more than a kernel of truth as this 40-something first-time entrepreneur talked about making a courageous leap from a safe and stable position with Microsoft into the world of mobile application development when he left a 14-year career to found AgriSync. Leaving a giant provider of horizontal business … [Read more...]
“Our motto is ‘Keep Showing Up’” declared Andrea Hansen, CEO and Co-Founder of Venuefox, in answer to an audience question regarding how she perseveres down the arduous startup path. “We know we are going to suck at whatever we do until we get good at it, so we keep trying,” added Co-Founder Jerod Mollenhauer admitting that this keen insight might be slightly plagiarized.Hansen and Mollenhauer were guests of Mike Colwell, Executive Director of the Business Innovation Zone at the February edition of Startup Stories, where they shared insights and lessons learned, now in the third year of their … [Read more...]
“It was an accident actually,” quipped Matt Ostanik, CEO of FunnelWise, as he spoke about his initial venture into entrepreneurial territory. “I stumbled into it as I was frustrated with something in my profession and I felt there had to be a better way.” Submittal Exchange, a highly successful construction communication software company was the better way he found although the process took a bit longer than expected. “I was on record, to my wife, that I would be done with the project in 2 years, but of course it was more like 10.” Still, it was 10 years well invested as Submittal Exchange was … [Read more...]