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Hundreds Gathered to Support Iowa Entrepreneurs at Innovation EXPO

Innovation EXPO 2018 drew a crowd of nearly 600 entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, students, business and community leaders from across the state to the DoubleTree Cedar Rapids Convention Complex on October 10th. The EXPO was comprised of multiple events that provided educational and networking opportunities for Iowa-based, high-growth-potential businesses of all stages. This year’s EXPO also coincided with EDC’s 15-year anniversary. The milestone was marked by a brief keynote speech given by EDC’s CEO, Curt Nelson, and Cedar Rapids City Manager, Jeff Pomeranz, who spoke about how entrepreneurs have inspired him to take calculated risks throughout his career.

Four Iowa entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a panel of area business experts for feedback in the PitchLab. At the end of PitchLab, the audience and panel selected a winner. The audience voted using the Iowa City-based Pear Deck platform. Iowa City-based VerdiLife, won and received a cash prize sponsored by EDC. VerdiLife produces wood vinegar, a 100% organic fertilizer and pesticide.

Seed & Venture Forum
Five Iowa entrepreneurs presented their businesses to a panel of seed and venture capital experts from across the state at the Seed & Venture Forum sponsored by the Iowa Venture Capital Association. It was a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to tap into the minds of investors and learn what is required for a successful pitch. Pear Deck was also used for audience ranking. Coralville-based Viewpoint Molecular Targeting won and received a cash prize sponsored by Iowa Innovation Corporation.

Entrepreneur Showcase
EDC’s Entrepreneur Showcase capped off the day with 88 Iowa-based exhibitors in the energy-filled exhibit hall that featured entrepreneurs at various stages of the business cycle.

At the end of the Showcase, STRATAFOLIO was presented with the People’s Choice Award sponsored by World Class Graphics and Displays. STRATAFOLIO is an online software solution that provides real-time data analytics for commercial real estate companies in an intuitively designed dashboard.

Hiawatha-based MobileDemand generously donated one of its Flex 10A tablets as a door prize. Alyx Coble-Frakes of Fully Aligned was the lucky winner of the MobileDemand tablet.

Thank You to Our Sponsors
Innovation EXPO thanks our generous sponsors listed below. Their support allows EDC to provide a venue for entrepreneurs to make valuable connections and scale their Iowa businesses at a faster rate. Without our sponsors, the EXPO would not be possible.

Principal Sponsors: City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County

Major Sponsors: Iowa Economic Development Authority, Alphagraphics, University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Bankers Trust, CBS 2

Supporting Sponsors: Kirkwood, City of North Liberty, City of Coralville, Iowa Venture Capital Association, Bradley & Riley PC and Erb’s Technology Solutions

Friends of the EXPO: BRL Human Resources & Payroll Consulting, NextLevel Ventures, Renew Rural Iowa, RSM US LLP and World Class Graphics & Displays