Wednesday, July 25, 2018

On July 24th, the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) Student Accelerator program finished with the Student Accelerator Final Pitches.

The program started at the beginning of the summer with 12 teams selected to participate. The students attended lectures from experienced entrepreneurs from around the community, met with mentors with expertise in various fields of business, and worked on various parts of their business for 8 weeks. In the end, 11 teams completed the program.

All 11 teams competed for a chance to present their business as the Student Accelerator Final Pitches. 5 teams were selected and presented on Tuesday night. During the completion certificate ceremony, each team was recognized for their hard work over the summer. The 5 teams then presented their businesses to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes.

Congratulations to our 2018 Student Accelerator winners:

Student Accelerator Final Pitches Winners:

  • $2,500 – Madhi Eghbali (PhD Economics), Vahid Khalajazdeh(Mechanical Engineering), Elly Kikos (Graphic Design), and Ben Lamar (Psychology) for VerdiLife
    • Sustainably transforming wood waste into wood vinegar, an organic agricultural product widely used in Europe and Australia.
  • $2,000 – Isabel Reed (Psychology), Mir Rahsinul Mulk (Computer Engineering), and Vivek Mishra (Computer Science) for Comigo
    • A web platform for college students to connect with potential collaborators across campus, building awesome portfolios of involvement and getting student projects off the ground.
  • $1,000 – Jade Peterson (Marketing), Alexandra Hernadez-Pardo (French, International Relations), and Taryen Lannutti (Elementary Education) for Funny Nuggets
    • An interactive kids program that put on special pop-up comedy experiences for kids while giving parents a break!
  • $1,000 – Caroline Edmunds Diez (Enterprise Leadership), Jill Thanh Nguyen (Entrepreneurial Management), Jack Ahern (Enterprise Leadership) for Kulture Vaccine
    • A music promotion company that offers underrepresented musicians marketing assistance and new connections to make their voices heard.
  • $1,000 – Vako Darjania (3D Design), Michael Garza (Enterprise Leadership, Sport and Recreation Management), Benjamin Mulder (Enterprise Leadership, Economics), and Justin Berg (Enterprise Leadership) for Vako Design
    • Vako Design creates American made and internationally recognized contemporary objects, lighting and furniture with simplicity and function in mind.
  • People’s Choice  ($500) - Madhi Eghbali (PhD Economics), Vahid Khalajazdeh(Mechanical Engineering), Elly Kikos (Graphic Design), and Ben Lamar (Psychology) for VerdiLife
    • Sustainably transforming wood waste into wood vinegar, an organic agricultural product widely used in Europe and Australia.

Student Accelerator Teams:

  • Garik Himebaugh (MBA), Brandon Stark (Business Adminstration), Antonio Murillo (Graphic Design, Entrepreneurial Management), and Brandon Sims () for Eco Stylist
    • A stylist that helps young professional men find anew environmentally and socially conscious outfit in a little as five minutes.
  • Storm Shearer (Graphic Design), Leah Best (Enterprise Leadership), Kiran Rehal (Finance, Marketing), and Michael Cooper (Enterprise Leadership) for Tart Design Co.
    • A graphic design company that focuses on bringing flavorful design into a company’s packaging and branding.
  • Ryan Smith (Entrepreneurial Management), Kerwin Alvero (Enterprise Leadership), and Jeremy Borjas (Communication Studies, Entrepreneurial Management) for GoLIVE Midwest
    • A live-streaming video product company that enables people to share their events live with amazing video and sound.
  • Lyric Harris (Journalism and Mass Communication, Enterprise Leadership), Autumn Eastman (Human Science), Ryan Light (Pre-Business), and Zach Harris (English) for Worthy Buck
    • A live-streaming platform for donors to interactively see the real impact of their dollars on worthy humans across the world from the comfort of their couch.
  • Michael Simon (Geoscience, Entrepreneurial Management), Trey Castillo (Mechanical Engineering), and Quintin Storm (Finance) for Clean River Solutions
    • Clean River Solutions is developing a device to remove unwanted woody debris in waterways, especially accumulations on bridge piers to ease taxpayer burden.

Thank you to the judges, Jared Garfield (Corvida Medical), Jen Neumann (de Novo Alternative Marketing), Kurt Heiar (Venture School), and Rob Kincaid (Momentum Executive Coaching).