Silicon Prairie News

4423_1c489a039c_small July 13, 2012 by Paige Yowell

In March, Krista Vogel's bosses at Hurrdat Social Media told her to pack three bags: One for cold weather, one for the beach, and one with the essentials. They then told her to bring her bags to dinner with her coworkers, where they all were surprised with a vacation. The destination? The Black Hills in South Dakota, for a weekend of skiing, bar-hopping and most importantly, no work. “It was a really good bonding experience for all of us,” said Vogel, who noted that the lack of Internet connection was welcomed … read more

4402_c8d0babe2c_small July 12, 2012 by Christopher New

Des Moines With the recent retirement of Version 1 of Hatchlings, we turn our attention to Version 2 of the online social egg-gathering game. Brad Dwyer, the Panora, Iowa-based founder and CEO of Hatchlings, sat down with us at Big Omaha in May during beta testing for Version 2 to demo Hatchlings' new user interface, which is HTML5-based, is more graphically … read more

4432_be559771d7_small July 11, 2012 by Paige Yowell

Kansas City Barnett Helzberg Jr. can tell horror stories of paperwork that isn't what it seems. He tells one about Best Buy paying a merchandise bill for $900,000. There's another involving publisher Conde Nast and a $7.9 million printing bill. The problem? Both bills were fake, mailed by someone attempting to swindle the companies out of money. And it worked. According to Helzberg, companies of all sizes are plagued by fake invoices every day. The invoices look real but are only attempts at deceiving companies into paying for a service or product that was never actually purchased. That’s why Helzberg and David Cacioppo of emfluence started a new company, PhonyInvoices. … read more

4441_b5d819b2e0_small July 10, 2012 by Danny Schreiber

Santa Monica Divshot, a Kansas City, Mo. startup born at Kansas City Startup Weekend in April, took first place today at Crowdstart LA, a live pitch event hosted by crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder. Today's competition in Santa Monica was the culmination of a 7-week crowdsourced startup … read more

4438_71f4288f3c_small July 10, 2012 by Michael Stacy

Omaha MindMixer last week announced it has been chosen to participate in the first Code for America Accelerator, a four-month program run by Code for America designed to give tech-based civic startups the network and training they need to grow. MindMixer, an Omaha startup that makes a web-based platform for community engagement, was one of seven companies chosen for the program … read more

4434_65b8ecb6a8_small July 10, 2012 by Sarah Binder

Cedar Falls T8 Webware unveiled today its new name, Banno, and its broader focus on building personal finance apps. "The Banno story is really our kind of change the world story," Wade Arnold, CEO of the 4 year old Cedar Falls-based company, said in a phone interview Monday. "It's somewhat of a coming out … read more

4406_fec47484b4_small July 9, 2012 by Sarah Binder

Cedar Falls Aaron Schurman fell in love with casino gaming at a young age and decided to bring the concept home. His company, Phantom EFX, became known for creating casino games for home entertainment, especially for developing mobile and social platforms. In June, Cedar Falls-based Phantom EFX was acquired by WMS Gaming. Schurman answered some questions via email about how his company started from scratch and grew to be acquired by a longstanding leader in the casino industry. | Silicon Prairie News: How did you decide to start the business … read more

4408_5d37fa513c_small July 6, 2012 by Sarah Binder

West Des Moines Often, startups are fueled by passion. For Deb Gore Ohrn, the decision to end her 18-year career at Meredith Corporation for an 18-month old startup was in following her heart. "It was just like, 'Oh my God, I need to be working with (Goodsmiths),' " Gore Ohrn said in a phone interview Tuesday. That feeling was mutual. On top of her expertise and relationships in the world of crafters and makers – her resume includes six years as editor in chief/marketing director of the Better Homes and Gardens Crafts Group – Goodsmiths CEO James Eliason said her enthusiasm … read more

The polls are open!

Through August 22, help us decide the winners of our inaugural Silicon Prairie Awards, which will recognize 12 companies and individuals. You can vote once per day per category.
Winners will be announced live on stage at
our August 30 event.