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Four developing Iowa education technology companies to be schooled through accelerator program

The following article was originally published by The Gazette on March 4, 2020.

Four fledgling educational technology companies are undertaking a 14-week program as they prepare to develop footprints in what officials have said could become a “thriving and dynamic sector” in Iowa.

The Iowa EdTech Accelerator this week launched its inaugural group of four pre- or early revenue companies, which will take part in the program on ACT’s campus in Iowa City.

Each will receive $25,000 in initial seed capital through the ISA Ventures Fund — a $30 million initiative headed by Eric Engelmann, of the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, and Steve Gray, of Gray Venture Partners.

The education technology companies also will receive coaching and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, software perks, technical services and education workshops on topics such as funding and marketing.

The four participating companies are:

  • The Agenda. Period, which helps women and girls understand and harness their unique cyclical patterns, so as to increase productivity and effect in their lives and businesses

  • Apprenticeship America, which helps employers create custom on-the-job training programs to fulfill hiring needs

  • IEP Equity, which brings families together in creating an individualized education plan through secure software and neutral mediation

  • TuitionFit, which brings transparency to the college search process by showing prices for students at every college in America

“The Iowa EdTech Accelerator really reinforces Iowa’s status as an ed-tech oasis ...,” said Ada Woo, ACTNext’s senior director of strategy implementation and operations.

The EdTech Accelerator is modeled after the Iowa Startup Accelerator, both of which are led by NewBoCo.

“At NewBoCo, education has always played a key role in our mission,” said Engelmann, its executive director. “By supporting the EdTech Accelerator in Iowa City, we’re getting to use what we’ve already learned about startup businesses in Iowa in a way that has clear benefits for the workforce of the future.”

The EdTech Accelerator was one recommendation of a state-commissioned report released in October, which found that Iowa could see significant growth in education technology if officials and local organizations cultivated the sector with “strategic focus.”

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