Act Write Here wins $15,000 first prize at Venture School Statewide Launch Day

Venture School first-place winner Laney Kraus-Taddeo, founder of Act Write Here.
Venture School first-place winner Laney Kraus-Taddeo, founder of Act Write Here. CREDIT DARREN MILLER

Virtual playhouse Act Write Here won first place and a $15,000 prize at the University of Iowa’s Venture School Launch Day on June 13, held at The Olympic Southside Theater in Cedar Rapids.

The company, founded by Laney Kraus-Taddeo and geared toward artists and writers, participated in the Des Moines Venture School along with second place winner Tumbleweed, a company founded by Paul Richardson that provides a comprehensive platform for legacy planning. Tumbleweed was awarded $9,000.

Third place winner, hailing from the Mason City Venture School, was AgriNet Bin Bladder, a company founded by Caleb Renner that provides a safe alternative to grain bin sweeps that saves farmers their lives. Mr. Renner’s company was awarded $6,000.

Other winners were awarded $1,000 and included:


  • EHS Support Source (Linden Terpstra, Iowa City)
  • Site Sidekick (Tom Altman, Iowa City)


  • Invasive Removal (Mark Vande Haar, Des Moines)
  • Ossarocco, LLC (Osarodion Aigbogun, Quad Cities)
  • Roster (Steve Wittmer, Iowa City)
  • Steer Clear Mirrors (Courtney McClellan, Iowa City)
  • The LEGG Buddy, LLC (Gary Goodlett, Des Moines)

Venture School is affiliated with the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC). Partnering with Iowa JPEC for Venture School are the University of Iowa Small Business Development Center, Eastern Iowa Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa’s West Coast Initiative, and The Innovation Lab Dubuque.