Silicon Prairie News

2546_4836338521_small July 13, 2011 by Michael Stacy

Des Moines Zach Cox grew up in Marshalltown and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Iowa State University, so he's no stranger to central Iowa. But when Cox moved to the Des Moines area last summer after spending several years on the East Coast and in Canada, he had to work to acclimate himself to the area's tech startup scene. "What I wanted to do as soon as I got back here was just try to network … read more

2530_be5c7e9513_small July 12, 2011 by Michael Stacy

Columbia Telling the story of his move from northern California to middle Missouri, Jim Spencer peppers in a couple of punch lines that have become well-polished with use. In 2008, Spencer relocated from San Francisco to Columbia, Mo. to start Newsy, a provider of multi-platform, multi-source video news analysis. "I explained to the folks in northern California," said Spencer, “that really the two main … read more

2392_570af2ea6b_small June 16, 2011 by Michael Stacy

Des Moines VolunteerLocal has a clear message for event organizers seeking a better way to orchestrate volunteer forces: if you want your volunteer process to excel, scrap the old spreadsheet. "We know we’ve fixed the problem, and I think a lot of our big task is educating the market that there’s tools like this available," said Brian Hemesath, VolunteerLocal’s founder. "Our biggest competition is … read more

2359_9b327ae951_small June 9, 2011 by Kate Ellingson

Lincoln Shane Farritor had no plans of becoming an entrepreneur, but things changed in 2006. “This started with an alumnus from the university who is on the dean’s advisory board," said Farritor, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "He’s been very successful doing startup companies and wanted to help the university with his expertise. He wanted to help engineers … read more

2360_abbce21d23_small June 8, 2011 by Brittany Mascio

Des Moines By day, Toran Billups works as a software developer with Iowa Student Loan. By night, he's a father and husband. But by early morning, he's an inventor of time. "I looked at the time in the day," Billups, 28, said, "and because there wasn't enough, I had to come up with some, so I invented it." Although he's no Father Time, this husband and father of one "invented" time to juggle his many obligations. After a full workday and time spent with … read more

2343_b6f509d0a0_small June 6, 2011 by Royce Haynes

Kansas City We live in an age of energy drinks. Red Bull, 5-hour Energy or insert your energy drink of the week here have been proven and sometimes disproven to help languid geeks stay awake in the wee hours of night hacking away on the next big thing. What we sometimes misunderstand is that a boost of energy doesn't necessarily make up for a lack of focus. … read more

2280_6fd2acbf5b_small May 20, 2011 by Geoff Wood

Des Moines Anna Jones' view of the Des Moines startup community comes from a unique perspective: behind a camera lens. Jones operates her business, Anna Jones | Art of Photography, from Des Moines full-time, documenting everything from babies to weddings to commercial projects. As of December, she's also on her way to establishing herself as the photographer of choice for events throughout the startup community. "This ties in … read more

2228_04fc0e3150_small May 11, 2011 by Michael Stacy

Fargo When we talked to Tadd Tobkin of Arthur Ventures for the story published Monday about the Fargo, N.D.-based venture capital firm, Tobkin was so generous with his insights that we couldn't squeeze everything into one post. So, we've compiled a collection of noteworthy excerpts from our interview with Tobkin that didn't quite make the cut for Monday's story. Included in the video are Tobkin's take on what he looks for in potential portfolio companies, why Arthur Ventures takes such a hands-on approach to venture capital and what it will take to get successful Midwestern entrepreneurs to consistently reinvest in local startups. … 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.