Engelmann fills another niche

David Tominsky Krista Martin Eric Engelmann Novy venture studio
David Tominsky, Krista Martin and Eric Engelmann are the co-founders of Novy, Iowa's first startup venture studio. CREDIT RICHARD PRATT

There are few people in the Corridor over the past 20 years who have supported and promoted entrepreneurship as much or more than Eric Engelmann.

For Mr. Engelmann, who had a successful career as the CEO and founder of Geonetric, a Cedar Rapids-based health care software company that continually ranked as one of the region’s fastest growing companies, it has never been about himself. Rather, he would identify holes in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Corridor and do whatever he could to help fill that hole.

He left Geonetric in 2016 after 17 years to create several entities to help build and nurture the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. They included NewBoCo, the Iowa Startup Accelerator and most recently a venture capital fund in 2019 called ISA Ventures to help provide capital to promising startup companies.

He’s brought a refreshing why-can’t-we-do-it-here mentality to the region and Iowa that we wish were more prevalent.

His most recently announced endeavor is to fill yet another entrepreneurial absence in the region with Novy, Iowa’s first venture studio.

“We’re taking a template from others and starting from there, but we’re also looking at how we can make it better. We believe strongly that this venture studio model will be a better way to build companies here in Iowa,” David Tominsky, a co-founder of this endeavor with Mr. Engelmann and Krista Martin, said in a news report. “This is a hands-on team. We’re not building their company for them, we’re building our company together with them. I think that’s a very significant difference that will reap rewards for the entire state.”

Mr. Tominsky added: “The big difference with a venture studio is that you’re taking that funding and support piece, you’re putting it under one umbrella, and you’re actually co-founding the companies. So Novy, as a venture studio, will be a co-founder with that new entity. But maybe even more importantly, we’re going to be so focused on the first stage, before a company even gets created.”

Mr. Engelmann has had much success in helping entrepreneurs in the region and beyond. We applaud his newest endeavor and hope that it is successful and that he’ll continue to help the region push its entrepreneurial boundaries.

IC’s nonprofit arts impact 

We appreciate the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, which showed that downtown Iowa City’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $20.4 million in economic activity in 2022.

That $20.4 million in districtwide economic activity includes:

  • $12.5 million in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations
  • $7.9 million in event-related spending by their audiences
  • 319 full-time jobs
  • $3.6 million in local, state, and federal government revenue

This study was last conducted in 2015.

It is important to help the community and region understand the importance of the nonprofit arts and culture industry. This study helps.