Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The University of Iowa has developed Venture School to help entrepreneur increase their odds of success. Venture School is a new approach to entrepreneurial training, based on leading edge curriculum and emphasizing lean startup methodology. Lead by UI lecturer and serial entrepreneur Kurt Heiar, Venture School has completed three cohorts in Iowa City and is poised to take this approach to entrepreneurship across the state. In Des Moines, the University of Iowa is working with organizations such as VentureNet, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Innovation Council, Drake University and Gravitate to recruit teams for the Central Iowa cohort, which begins September 2nd.

“Venture School allowed us to work with senior mentors to discover our customers. In the process, our company, Immortagen, LLC, has a much more comprehensive business model. We are light years ahead of where we started,” Kimberly Leslie, MD – Department Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Iowa Health Care and Co-Founder of Immortagen.

After completing Venture School, startups will continue to have access to numerous UI resources including strategic business assistance, technology consulting services, prototyping assistance, and internship programs. “Venture School trains entrepreneurs to connect with real customers to validate their business model, increasing the likelihood of success,” says David Hensley, the University of Iowa’s Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Executive Director of the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. “When a team comes into the program, we help guide them through early stage market research, provide mentors with real world experience, and then connect them with other resources, both inside and outside of the university, enabling them to more confidently launch their businesses.”

The information reception on July 17th at 5 pm will be held at the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center and will feature a welcome by John Pappajohn. The event is open to the public; entrepreneurs and those engaged in the startup community are encouraged to attend. Several entrepreneurs who have been through Venture School will also be in attendance, along with University of Iowa staff. For more details, visit

Venture School curriculum was developed by the National Science Foundation at Stanford University and the University of California – Berkeley.