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Jackovin to Speak of Bawte, TechStars and Entrepreneurism at BIZ Luncheon

October 14, 2014

“I’m really excited to see what happens after TechStars, but I also know I’m going to miss it,” declared John Jackovin of the mixed emotions he was experiencing as he neared the end of his time at the prestigious business incubator. Jackovin, CEO of Bawte, will be the featured guest at the November edition of the Business Innovation Zone’s (BIZ) Start-Up Stories. The Johnston native is the guest of Mike Colwell, Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, who will question the serial entrepreneur for the first half hour, turning the questioning over to the audience thereafter.

Jackovin and Bawte, which he describes as “a platform that revolutionizes product support and the entire post purchase experience” by acting as an organizer of consumer product information and as a consumer concierge serving as an intermediary between customer and manufacturer when issues arise, were chosen to participate in TechStars, self-described as the number one start-up accelerator in the world, on the heels of a 2nd place finish in a pitch competition at South by Southwest.  With offices across the country and around the world the incubator provides $118,000 in seed funding, intensive mentorship, and a network of mentors and alumni in exchange for 7-10 percent equity in the company.

The three-month concentrated session joins Bawte with 12 other companies in a rigorous and all-consuming experience meant to drive the participants towards a session ending demonstration that serves as a pitch to further investors. Jackovin explains that the first month is about assessing the company’s position, “I’m sure most companies ask themselves these questions, is this the right product, am I far enough along, am I positioned appropriately in the market.” “The last two months are spent in execution,” he continues, “and TechStar is ever present to push the participants towards success, and I do mean push. They are in this to make money and they don’t coddle anyone."

While the TechStars experience looms large for Jackovin, he stands ready to discuss a multitude of topics under questioning from Colwell and the attendees, for at 40 he is approaching elder statesman status in the Des Moines startup community and is no stranger to the highs and lows of entrepreneurism. A graduate of the Tippe College of Business at the University of Iowa, Jackovin describes his career thus far as one of building things that a lot of people think about but that most don’t act upon. 

Finding success with such diversified ventures as Servis Technology Group, which provides clients customized and personalized data collection, documentation, training, education, and support services, to Big Blue Window, an ecommerce retailer for aftermarket window mullions, he has also known the pains of failure when Ontuet Inc., a product information tool folded after 10 years while under threat of expensive court proceedings in a breach of contract dispute.

With all three of those ventures in the rear-view mirror, Jackovin is absorbed in making Bawte his biggest success to date, and he is attentive to making himself the best leader possible. One lesson he learned at TechStars, as Bawte needed to refocus before, and might need to refocus again, so he has learned to question his leadership to be certain he is good at what he thinks he is good at. 

Back from Boulder Colorado and the TechStars whirlwind, focused upon growth, and nestled within Gravitate, the new “Entrepreneurial Center of Gravity for Des Moines” Jackovin is excited to be home to his wife and daughters and the Des Moines entrepreneurial community with whom he hopes to share his experiences and insights over lunch on a forthcoming Wednesday in November. 

Event Info
$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch)
11: 30 a.m.
November 19, 2014

Ruan II, 601 Locust
Conference Room 101

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the BIZ for details. 

The BIZ's mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. The BIZ helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization

Square One DSM, an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, is formerly known as the Business Innovation Zone (BIZ).

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,100 Regional Business Members and more than 330 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.