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Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Want to learn more about the Cedar Rapids edition?


Meet the #SWCR14 Eight!

by swcedarrapids

The Polished Man-The practical toolbox for the modern man. Habit Ninja- develop habits like a ninja. Meet […]



Feb 28
  • Registration Starts
  • Networking, appetizers, and drinks (Zins and Lionbridge)
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Mar 1
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee (Early Bird Cafe)
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch (Prairie Soup Company)
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner (Iowa Soul Food Market)
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Mar 2
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee (Coffee Emporium)
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch (Healthy Choices)
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner (The Braise Company)
  • FINAL PRESENTATIONS - Sweet treat (Yotopia)
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Presenting Sponsors
Platinum Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Community Sponsors

Jeff Pomeranz

City Manager, City of Cedar Rapids

On September 20, 2010, Jeff Pomeranz became the city manager for the City of Cedar Rapids. During his successful career, Mr. Pomeranz has served as city manager for the City of West Des Moines, Iowa, the City of Port Angeles, Washington and the City of Del Rio, Texas.

Jeff has served as an executive board member for the Iowa League of Cities and the Iowa City Management Association and an Adjunct Professor for the Master of Public Administration program at Drake University. He was appointed by Governor Culver to serve as the Chair of I-Jobs, a 200 million dollar economic stimulus program targeted towards public infrastructure, designed to benefit flood-impacted Iowa communities following the devastating floods of 2008.

Jeff received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1980 and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Alabama in 1982.

Patrice Carroll

President & CEO, ImOn Communications

Patrice M. Carroll is President and CEO of ImOn Communications. Patrice has been a leader in the telecommunications industry for 25 years. Patrice has served as Group Vice President of Business Development and General Manager of Advanced Technology Services at McLeodUSA, Senior Vice President of Communications Services Engineering at WorldCom Communications and Vice President of Enhance Service Engineering at MCI Communications. Prior to entering telecommunication industry Patrice was a Systems Officer for Manufacturers’ National Bank. Patrice has a B.S. degree in Mathematics from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN.

Patrice is currently a member of Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust and is active member of the Corridor community. She serves on the United Way Women’s Leadership Initiative Advisory Board, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa Board of Directors, the Economic Alliance Business Support Innovation Council and the Theatre Cedar Rapids Board of Directors. She has served on Regina Catholic Education Center Board of Directors.

Patrice is married to Tom Carroll and they have two children.

John Osako

Co-founder & Vice President of Development, Informatics, Inc,

John is a co-founder and Vice President of Development at Informatics, Inc., one of Iowa’s premier web development agencies founded in 1998 and helped grow Informatics from 2 to almost 20 full time employees. Informatics has received many awards, including CBJ’s Best Web Developer for 8 consecutive years since the award’s inception. Before Informatics, he helped in two other successful startups, including publishing a commercial computer strategy game with friends from college. 

John helps businesses grow through utilization of web technologies. He manages a team of developers, graphic designers, usability experts, SEO/SM specialists and consultants that develop web applications. He serves as the primary architect and business analyst for a wide range of business web applications such as web catalogs, corporate intranets and comprehensive web-based data acquisition and reporting systems. He works with a wide variety of clients, ranging from small not-for-profits to Fortune 500 companies and universities.

Although a techie at heart, he can explain complex technology topics in ways that non-technical people can understand and is often called upon to present technology topics to diverse audiences.

He does his best to give back to the community though a wide range of involvements. Currently he’s a director of Guaranty Bank, Charter member of Metro North Rotary, Director of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation and chair two committees, Director of Junior Achievement and classroom volunteer (for the past 12 years), member of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance Innovation Council, lecturer and business consultant for SCORE, Den leader for Cub Scouts Pack 9, and past recipient of the CBJ 40 Under 40 and graduate of Leadership for Five Seasons.

John and his wife Stacie reside in Cedar Rapids along with their two sons, Simon (8) and Alec (6).

Amanda Styron West

CEO, Seed Here Studio   |   LinkedIn

Amanda Styron West is the CEO of Seed Here Studio, a community building program development agency dedicated to building a stronger community of entrepreneurs and creatives in Iowa. She leads strategy and production of multiple community building efforts including events, programs, media and coworking spaces.

Before starting Seed Here, Amanda earned a degree in economics at the University of Iowa. While in college she co-founded the Iowa City non-profit community building organization The James Gang and launched a student engagement program called The 10,000 Hours Show that went on to be acquired and expanded by United Way Worldwide. After college, she worked with creative class expert Richard Florida and The Knight Foundation to support mid-size cities around the country with their creative community building efforts.

John Schnipkoweit

CEO & Co-Founder,   |   LinkedIn

Experienced in technology and starting multiple businesses, John recently completed the Nike+ Accelerator, powered by TechStars in Portland, OR!

Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he started his career in IT at Rockwell Collins at age 16. John attended ISU and then moved to Kansas City to work in the Energy and Telecom industries. He moved back to Iowa to pursue his dream of starting a business.

John is currently the CEO & Co-Founder of - making it easy for health professionals to include activity tracking devices and apps into their programs.

-Co-Founder and former CEO of
-Co-Founder and former CTO of Ovation Networks
-Inventor of patent-pending energy management system
-President of New Bohemia Group 2011, 2012
-CR Metro Economic Alliance Board 2012-2013
-Downtown District Development Committee 2008-2013
-Downtown District Board 2010-2011
-Iowa DOT Passenger Rail Advisory Committee 2010
-Policy Board Member of the Corridor MPO 2009-2013

In his "free" time, he's an avid boater/wakeboarder who loves to travel. He's an advocate for the arts, innovation, the environment, historical preservation, and forward thinking.


Lynn Allendorf

Director, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at University of Iowa

Lynn Allendorf is director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at University of Iowa. She also runs the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory, a student business incubator, and teaches in the undergraduate and MBA programs in the Tippie College of Business. Previously she served as vice president of product development for Parsons Technology where she managed the development and marketing of the company's $30 million productivity division including the Quicken Family Lawyer product line. Her extensive experience in software development and engineering also includes the Silicon Valley companies Intuit and Broderbund as well as Rockwell Collins. She has also founded two companies. Her expertise is in consumer product marketing, both direct and retail, product development, team building and entrepreneurship. Lynn has a BS in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics, as well as an MBA, from The University of Iowa.

geemus (Wesley Beary)

Hacker Laureate, Heroku

geemus (Wesley Beary) [] is an avid Rubyist, Open Sourcer and Herokai. He spends days designing APIs at Heroku and free time working on open source [], developing games, prototyping world domination schemes, building furniture and hacking his health.

Jen Neumann

Partner, de Novo Alternative Marketing

Jen Neumann is the creative force behind de Novo's award winning strategies. She blends usability, effective communications, industry standards and cutting edge technology to create digital strategies that work.

Marketing blended with technology are her passion - and she doesn't use that term lightly. A good tech blog can keep her up all night. And bad marketing and communications just really p*ss her off.

Jen and her husband Doug live in SE Cedar Rapids in an old Tudor that needs constant repair. They have two crazy daughters who will probably grow up to do great things, if they can just get past the teen years in one piece. They also have two lousy cats.

Alec Whitters

Business Scientist

Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Alec went his whole life thinking he would be doctor or dentist. That is, until he was just about to enter his 3rd year of dental school. Alec went on to start a company focused on developing apps in the education space. He soon left school to focus on the company full time.

Alec and Higher Learning Technologies have raised 1.3 million dollars to date. Their apps now boast 250,000+ users with three (in the App store) grossing in the Top 100 for education.

Bruce Lehrman

CEO & Founder, Involta

Bruce Lehrman is the CEO and a Founder of Involta. Involta builds, owns, and operates world-class, multi tenant data centers in secondary markets. Founded in 2007, Involta was the #2 fastest growing IT Company in the country in 2010 according to Inc. Magazine 500 Fastest Growing Companies (#40 overall). Involta was selected Company of the Year by the Technology Association of Iowa. Bruce was named CEO of the Year at the same event. Bruce Lehrman was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 by the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, Involta was awarded Fastest Growing Company by CBJ as well as winning the Prometheus Award for IT Service Company of the Year in 2012 and 2013. Bruce was recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year by CBJ. In 2013 Bruce was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Bruce is on the Board of the Entrepreneurial Development Center, Technology Association of Iowa (as 2013 Chairman), Iowa Seed Fund, MEDCO, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, Marion Mixers, Geacom, Higher Learning Technology and Van Meter Industrial. Prior to Involta, Bruce was CIO of RuffaloCODY.

Kris Gulick

President, Entrepreneurial Services Group LLC

Professional Experience:
-CFO, Auditing Staff, Director of Finance and Accounting, -Consulting Manager, Business -Consultant, Adjunct Faculty University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa

CPA Certificate:
-Issued 1988

-Coe College, BA
-University of Iowa, MA
-University of Northern Iowa, BA

General work experience:
-26 years in accounting
-3 years as audit staff,
-21 years as business consultant
-4 years adjunct faculty

David Sturtz

Product Strategist & Intrapreneur, Geonetric   |   LinkedIn

David Sturtz is a product strategist and intrapreneur at Geonetric. He brings his vision and expertise to industry-leading projects and products all centered on connecting people with the information they need. His current focus is on developing and launching Blaze, a Web application for content strategists. David is also a mentor for the Iowa Startup Accelerator, the state’s first 90-day accelerator program for pre- and early-revenue startups. He holds a MS in library and information science and a BA in graphic design.

Fitzgerald Steele

Director of Marketing, Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc.   |  

Fitzgerald is the Manager of Director of Marketing for Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc.

He seeks to understand how, where, and when technology can be leveraged to help people and organizations pursue their interests and achieve their goals. He's got degrees in Industrial Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.

Doug Elliott

Executive Director, East Central Iowa Council of Governments

Doug Elliott has spent the entirety of his professional career in the public sector, with more than thirty years of experience in management of public organizations. He has been the executive director of the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, since 1994, and prior to coming to ECICOG, he spent five years as the executive director of the North Iowa Area Council of Governments in Mason City, Iowa. He began his professional career at the Nebraska Arts Council where he held several management positions.

Included among his duties at ECICOG is oversight of the Business Assistance Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). With a capital base of over $5 Million, the RLF provides low interest, short-term loans to new and expanding businesses across a variety of economic sectors.

Mr. Elliott received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa in political science with a minor in sociology. He received a Master of Arts from the University of Illinois at Springfield in community arts management. He is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Association of Regional Councils and the secretary of the National Association of Development Organizations.

Josh Cramer

Founder & CEO, Cramer Dev   |   LinkedIn

Josh is an internet entrepreneur currently living in Iowa City, IA with his family and friends. Josh is founder and CEO of Cramer Dev, a U.S. based software development team that builds interactive products for startups. Previously, Josh built and sold an IT company based in Coralville, IA. In addition to starting and growing these companies, Josh has been involved in the creation of several successful web and e-commerce based startups in both strategic and development roles. Recently, Josh co-founded Koala Pay, a mobile payments and customer loyalty app.

Josh serves on the boards of the Iowa City Area Development Group and the Technology Association of Iowa.

Josh is also involved in the nationally development and strengthening of the nationally recognized Silicon Prairie startup and entrepreneur ecosystem. Most notably, these efforts have consisted of the creation of several local initiatives including Cowrk, ICCReatives, Iowa City Open Coffee, as well as mentoring and supporting entrepreneurs in the area.

Lydia Brown

Founding Partner, Skywalk Group & CEO, Ascent

Lydia is a serial entrepreneur and a founding partner of Skywalk Group. In late 2012, Lydia founded Ascent. Ascent is a not-for-profit organization with the mission to inspire and support women in business ownership by helping them grow in a meaningful way, to create jobs, drive economies and strengthen communities. The impetus for Ascent came from the realization that Iowa ranked last among the states in women owned businesses. Lydia also serves as founding partner of Skywalk Group, an Iowa based professional services firm that specializes in the areas of human resources management, organizational development, training and recruiting. A women owned and led company, Skywalk Group has worked directly with numerous start-up companies as well as Fortune 500 firms. In addition to Lydia’s professional endeavors, she is a wife and mother of three and a dedicated community volunteer.

Adam Ingersoll

Entrepreneur & Executive

Adam Ingersoll is an entrepreneur and executive with two decades of experience in entrepreneurial ventures, with expertise as an owner-operator and advisor in ed-tech, performance marketing, CRM, professional services, and SaaS businesses.

Adam joined Ivy West Educational Services in 1994 and helped lead the educational services start-up to a dominant market position in California as a leading provider of consulting for test preparation and college admission. After an acquisition of Ivy West by Sylvan Learning Systems in 2000, he drove an effort to introduce a public-private partnership that doubled the company's revenue in two years. In 2004 he left Sylvan and co-founded Compass Education Group, which has become California's leading provider of tutoring for students aspiring to attend competitive colleges. Compass employs several hundred instructors and tutors and provides services to thousands of students annually through in-home tutoring in CA and web-based tutoring internationally. Adam is a recognized thought leader in the arena of standardized testing for college admissions.

Adam has also led the design of robust industry-customized CRM systems across multiple verticals and is a persuasive and enthusiastic advocate for the power of technology to drive successful services businesses. In 2007 Adam co-founded TigerLead Solutions, a leading CRM system and online marketing platform for the real estate industry. TigerLead grew rapidly and Adam led the sale of the company to Move, Inc. (also owns in 2012 for $26 MM.

Locally, Adam's investor/advisor involvement includes Higher Learning Technologies, Tutor Universe, Telepharm, GolfCenter, and several other equity investments. Adam, along with co-founders Ravi Patel and Roby Miller, is also a founding partner of BBI ("Built By Iowa"), an equity fund created to support Iowa-based businesses in need of capital and strategic guidance.

Adam is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California. While an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, he was the first undergraduate student in Liberal Arts program to serve as a teaching assistant and his field study and thesis on test preparation's benefits for under-privileged students received departmental honors. He also worked in a counseling role in the admission office and was a walk-on member of the varsity basketball team.

Chris Quartier

CTO & Co-Founder,

Chris Quartier grew up in east-central Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2007 with a BS in Computer Engineering. He brought his talents to Cedar Rapids, Iowa in early 2008 to work for local engineering giant Rockwell Collins.

Chris brings a wide range of software experience to the table, from working 4 years at Rockwell Collins as an embedded software engineer to co-founding and leading development on RecBob and and just about every kind of software in between. He feels pretty comfortable behind a computer screen but when he isn't engineering software, he enjoys traveling, playing music, playing sports, and sipping on fine whiskeys.

Josh Krakauer

CEO & Co-Founder, Sculpt   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Josh is a self-proclaimed "social web startup guy" who channeled his addiction into Sculpt, the creative agency for a connected generation. Sculpt works with an assortment of regional, national and web-based brands, and provides them with full-service social, creative, and digital development.

Josh manages an 11-person “squad” of community managers, digital strategists and designers out of their playground in the Iowa City CoLab.

Outside of Sculpt, Josh remains actively involved as mentor and speaker in the local startup community, and sits on the JPEC Alumni Advisory Board. He is incapable of sleeping.

Julie Zielinski

Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, EDC

As Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, Julie helps entrepreneurs discover key customer insights and prioritize market growth opportunities, then translate these strategies into executable business plans to build their brand’s unique competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Prior to joining the EDC, Julie has worked with the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business MBA program and founded Zielinski Consulting, where she worked with local, national, and global businesses to identify unique competitive brand advantage and pursue creative and actionable growth strategies. Julie’s experience also includes a 16 year corporate marketing and strategy career, where she held executive leadership roles in marketing research, product management, branding, new product development, and strategy.

Julie has served since 2005 as an Adjunct Lecturer for the Tippie College of Business, teaching undergraduate and MBA students in consumer behavior, strategic management and policy, and most recently, entrepreneurial marketing.

Julie holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from the University of Iowa.

Cynthia A. Goro

Founding partner, Business Legacy, LLC

Ms Goro is a founding partner of Business Legacy, LLC, a professional firm assisting owners of small and midcap process oriented companies to establish sustainability throughout their company to increase organizational value to current and future stakeholders. Cynthia Goro continues to work closely with business owners, board of directors, entrepreneurs and senior executives to measurably improve the economic business value of their business. Her business acumen and breadth of experiences offer significant benefit to her clients by bringing solutions to uniquely complex situations.

She is an instructor in the College of Business at the University of Northern Iowa and provides her leadership and coaching skills to UNIBusiness Professional Readiness Program as their Executive-in-Residence.

As Executive Director for the Iowa Bail Bond Association, Inc., she developed the governance guidelines including Board member responsibilities, Code of Ethics¸, guides the board toward strategic actionable goals and promotes the association to industry representatives, law enforcement constituents and legislators.

Andy Stoll

Co-Founder, Seed Here Studio & Vault Coworking

Andy Stoll is a social entrepreneur and media producer. Andy recently co-founded Seed Here Studio, a media and marketing agency dedicated to building a stronger community of entrepreneurs and creatives in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area co-founded Startup Iowa, the 8th region to join the White House initiated Startup America Partnership and he serves in advisory roles with a number of startups. Andy previously co-founded The James Gang, a community-building creativity- and social entrepreneurial-incubator that was named the Iowa City Press Citizen ‘Person of the Year’, as the individual or group that had the largest impact on the community. Andy holds a BA in film production and a BBA in Business Management from The University of Iowa, as well as a Masters Degree in Media Cultures from The City University of Hong Kong. Andy recently completed a 4-year, 40-country solo trip-around-the-world, and moonlights as a photographer, sometimes chef and occasional cooking class instructor.

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