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Episode 47: Techstars Iowa Talks Opportunities

Kerty Levy Techstars Podcast

April 7, 2020


Kerty Levy, managing director of Techstars Iowa, speaks with the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Startup Stories host, Mike Colwell.

In a small town near Stockholm, Sweden, a 13-year-old Kerty attended boarding school while her parents lived in California. Kerty then went to UC Davis in California for her college education. She took on several entrepreneurial roles prior to running the Techstars Iowa accelerator. Some of those roles included running business development and product management at San Francisco based startups. Kerty also gained insight into manufacturing and prototyping while working on her own product design. She says there are great manufacturers in Iowa, especially in plastics.

Getting Ready for Recruiting Season During COVID-19

As Kerty begins recruitment for Techstars, she says not much has changed in regard to how she reaches out to startups across the country; however, she misses the coffee meetups with potential local startups. Virtual meetings are regular, but she insists it’s important to remember to get up and get outside for a few minutes, while still social distancing. One positive she’s seen is that no commute time to meetings means more time to make another call. With so many people working from home, there is more time and opportunity to make connections and get people on the phone.

Techstars Iowa

The first Techstars Iowa class will start in September. Applications are open until Sunday, May 10, with screening happening by Wednesday, June 10. While other Techstars programs have switched to virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kerty says as of now Techstars Iowa is still planning to have the event in person, beginning Tuesday, September 8. Demo Day is planned for Thursday, December 3.

Participation Selection

The focus of Techstars Iowa participants is on founder and team members who are passionate about what they are doing, connected to what they’re doing within a space they’re familiar with, who are tenacious and who work well with others, no matter their background. From there, Kerty says they look at the size of the opportunity and what kind of traction the startups have in those markets.

Listen to the entire podcast: Kerty Levy — Techstars Iowa

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Startup Stories DSM is a podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs who share both their victories and failures on their paths to success. It is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.