The Iowa State University Pappajohn Center has announced the members selected for the 14th ISU Startup Factory cohort. The cohort includes 19 members running 10 business ventures, either individually or in teams.

The Startup Factory is an 18-week program open to technology-based, scalable ventures led by ISU scientific faculty and community members across Iowa. Participants leave prepared to pursue non-dilutive funding for their technology and commercialization plan.

This year’s cohort includes several participants from outside the university, with two ventures from Kenya, one from California through an institutional partnership with Loyola Marymount University, and one from the East Coast whose European parent company is seeking to establish an Iowa-based U.S. division.

“The ISU Startup Factory is expanding its footprint by taking an opportunistic approach and, in doing so, will strengthen one of the core principles of the program, which is our commitment to helping founders build a business network,” Peter Hong, director of the ISU Startup Factory, said in a prepared statement. “The members of cohort 14 will have an opportunity to understand the challenges, similarities and differences of building and operating a business inside and outside of the Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Across the Startup Factory’s first 13 cohorts, it has served 115 ventures.

After completing the program, the participants will showcase their progress at the ISU Startup Factory Demo Day event on Dec. 5 at the ISU Research Park.

The members of the new cohort are:

  • AfriBioHub (Joshua Magu Gichuhi): Reaching out to the scientific community by simplifying experiments and providing low-cost reagents to researchers with limited resources. (Partnership with Kenyatta University and AfriBioHub).
  • Bovi-Jet (Dakota Belling and Eugene Meyer): Automated medicinal application systems that cattle pass underneath, making it easier for cattle producers to maintain a healthy herd by saving time and money.
  • MolSynth (Maurine Mumo and Harrison Waweru): Availing CRISPR technology to you and your team for accelerated rapid diagnostics innovations and genome editing. (Partnership with Kenyatta University and AfriBioHub).
  • NarrateAR (Karri Haen Whitmer and Chris Whitmer): Like our own child, one in six students struggle with special needs. We build personalized AI co-pilots for learning that grow with your child to unlock their full potential.
  • Research led by Chunhui Xiang and AKM Mashud Alam: We developed a simple sensor for equipment-free, on-site detection of organophosphate insecticide via color change.
  • Rise Energy (Jordan Funkhouser, Tannon Daugaard and Ryan Smith): Technology that enables industrial processors to generate value from underutilized biomass streams through conversion to carbon-negative fuels and products.
  • Torrgreen (Dr. David Finegold): A Dutch biofuel startup that is coming to the U.S. to scale up a breakthrough, portable technology that can turn a wide range of plant feedstocks into renewable energy at the site where the plants grow.
  • UpcyclingPlus (Akalanka Tennakoon and Xun Wu): We make an alternative fuel from waste plastics, giving heavy transportation fleets a cost-effective way to reach their decarbonization goals.
  • WhatAreThose (Chidinma Kalu, Sean Brown, Soumya Pattanayak): For streetwear enthusiasts who have a hard time finding the best deals for products they want, we built an AI marketplace to help customers identify, shop, and sell sneakers, streetwear and luxury fashion.
  • Loyola Marymount University REACT Lab (Brendan Smith): In the U.S., insurance typically covers only the first several weeks of inpatient stroke rehabilitation, leaving upwards of a million Americans with arm impairment too severe to benefit from the most effective at-home rehab tools. We make the only affordable, clinically validated at-home rehab device that fills this gap in patients’ rehabilitation journey.