Silicon Prairie News

6702_c88acc161e_small April 18, 2014 by Megan Bannister

Ionia If there's anyone who truly personifies entrepreneurship in Iowa, it's Carl Blake. A software engineer with no formal training turned innovative hog farmer, Blake is the cross-section of what Iowa's economy has been traditionally known for and what it's working to become ... read more

6653_3babf18b13_small April 4, 2014 by Julia Hogren

Nick Evans has always been fascinated with how to get a lot more done with less work. A Nebraska native, Evans created a $20 piece of hardware, Tile, that users attach to anything they’re prone to lose—phone, remote, car keys. Syncing with iOS devices, users can seek out their stuff along with the help of trusted friends and family also dialed into their network. His light-hearted, easy-going attitude is underscored by an intense motivation, highlighted by his impressive resume ... read more

6621_ea92eed6dc_small March 25, 2014 by Kate Brosseau

Kansas City Roughly an hour and a half from his office in the Kansas City Startup Village, EyeVerify CEO and founder Toby Rush was trained in the art of entrepreneurship. It wasn't in a classroom or under the wing of a seasoned business icon, but in the fields of his family's farm in Severance, Kan. ... read more

6444_6e6654b49e_small February 3, 2014 by Jordan Pascale

Lincoln Paul Jarrett's opinion of the Pipeline entrepreneurship program changed quickly. At the beginning, talked into it by friends and mentors, Jarrett went to the first interview in jeans and was surrounded by entrepreneurs with suits and briefcases. "I've never owned a briefcase in my life," he said. But by the end of it, after he was accepted and went through the year-long program, Jarrett was all in—and all nerves ... read more

5960_da44940789_small September 4, 2013 by Patti Vannoy

Lincoln Technically, Lincoln-based app shop SectorNow has a massive mission: to use data to improve people's lives. "We want to build really niche products that meet specific market needs that work really well for people," said co-founder Evelyn Bartlett (right). But ultimately, the company's focus is on two narrower areas that ignite its co-founders' personal passions: behavioral health (that's co-founder Craig Lutz-Priefert) and environmental issues (Bartlett and her husband, Roger)... read more

5416_0a519e440d_small March 26, 2013 by Kate Ellingson

Lincoln When Jill Thayer Liliedahl, founder of the frozen treat company Pop Art, and Amber Pankonin, creator of the health-oriented recipe app StirList, met on the Lincoln, Neb. startup scene, the pair began noticing a missing demographic at the events they were attending. Both women were startled by the lack of female entrepreneurs. "We would show up to all these startup events, and we were practically the only women there," Thayer Liliedahl said. "We wanted more to show up." Inspired by … read more

5361_f27e1cd2df_small March 6, 2013 by Joe Stych

Kansas City Rob Sweeney says we're in the midst of a tech-based disconnect, and it's based on age. This generation of digital natives can master an iPhone by age four. But our grandparents could care less about hashtags, Facebook timelines and texting. That's where the failed connection happens. Kansas City native Sweeney sees a starightforward way to alleviate grandma's tech-based communication woes, and he calls it messageQube. The idea is simple: instead of teaching elderly relatives to use text messaging to communicate, messageQube acts as a receiver for the messages, and automatically prints them on a receipt-style sheet. That way, grandma can consume … read more

4465_14dc800123_small July 23, 2012 by Paige Yowell

Kansas City Sharmil Desai was working at STIX restaurant in Kansas City, Kan. when the restaurant owners needed a website for customers … 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.