Students honored for start-up business ideas

Students honored for start-up business ideas

A team of University of Iowa students that developed a business idea to design and manufacture electronic keys for use in assisted living centers won the top prize in the Iowa Startup Games competition for the fall semester.

The competition, sponsored by the Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), is a three-day event held Oct. 25-27 where students from all areas of study pitch their business ideas to a team of judges. Afterwards, the students form teams and work together to bring the best ideas to life. On the third day, each team pitches to a group of panelists for a chance to win cash prizes.

This year’s winner of the $2,000 first place prize was Assistance Tech, which developed a business idea for an electronic bracelet key that uses radio frequencies to unlock doors in assisted living centers. Members of the winning team include: Myles Hebets of Cedar Rapids; Zach Combs of Newton; Michael Westphal of Urbandale; Kyle Lastine of Urbandale; and John Tian of Bloomington, Ill.

The second-place team, Of Kings and Queens, connects multicultural fashion designers to student organizations and received $1,000. The third-place team, Get To Know, developed an idea for a platform designed to help early sessions of therapy more valuable and received $750. The team also won the People’s Choice Award, for $500.

The $500 Judge’s Choice award went to Bee-A-Keeper, an idea for an online subscription service that enables people to help strengthen bee populations.


Tom Snee, Office of Strategic Communication, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell)

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