Iowa-based venture studio Novy adds 2 new hires, seeks startup applicants

Novy, which became Iowa’s first venture studio when it launched in Cedar Rapids in November, announced Tuesday that it is “open for business” with the hiring of two new team members and launch of a push for startup idea applications.

Process Leader Sarah Wallace and Vice President of Marketing Jess Greiner have joined Novy’s three founding partners Eric Engelmann, David Tominsky and Krista Martin. The two will be involved in each phase of Novy’s studio model, including applicant attraction, idea selection and startup scaling, according to a press release.

Wallace has 16 years of experience working in advertising and operations roles for Google, Ask Media Group and Midwest startup Boardable before joining Novy. Greiner has marketing, sales and human resources experience in technology and health care from more than nine years of experience at LightEdge and over three years with OpenLoop Health.

Novy is seeking applications for founders and startup ideas for its first round of evaluations that will begin in April. Those selected will receive $1 million in direct capital, two full-time executives, in-house product development and a full suite of back-office support that will include finance and human resources, bringing the total investment to about $2 million.

Founders, professors, graduate students and corporate leaders who have a software idea in health care can apply for consideration on Novy’s website.

Qualities the team is looking for include:

  • Fresh startup ideas
  • Passionate founders
  • Health care focus
  • U.S. based
  • Very early stage

Novy, which means ‘“new” in Czech, was designed to partner with founders from ideation through a Series A round by co-founding, funding and growing their companies over the course of 18 to 24 months. Novy has a six-stage process each portfolio company will follow that is designed to “optimize business formation across ideation, validation, creation, growth, spinout and successful exit.”

The venture studio model differs from incubators, accelerators and venture capital firms by offering a high level of strategic involvement and day-to-day support, the press release said.​​

“Rather than solely focusing on capital investment with no proactive mentorship, or ongoing
guidance with no funding, venture studios provide both,” Engelmann said in a prepared statement. “The proven methodologies venture studios utilize have been shown to increase startup success rates from 10% to an impressive 60%.”