PollUp.io, Ames

PollUp.io began very simply; just three guys that wanted to create a cool software application. Kenyon Brown, Dave Leo, and Neil Saigal decided to develop a business-to-business tool that would “make work more enjoyable.” They started working on the app in October of 2015 and began developing a company business plan the following March.

PollUp.io discovered the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) through Iowa State University’s Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship. “[I] knew [SBDC Regional Director] Ted Bair and immediately felt comfortable working with the organization,” writes Kenyon. The SBDC conducted market research for PollUp.io during the summer of 2016, helping them develop their minimum viable product. After a period of customer discovery and development, PollUp.io launched their pilot program in December of that year. They then used what they learned from the program to refine their product and successfully launched their app commercially on March 6, 2017.

PollUp.io is a feedback software that assists companies with training, engaging, and increasing productivity with employees. “You wouldn’t check in to see how your spouse is feeling once a month. You would instead talk to your spouse every day. So, why would you treat your employees (the people you arguably spend most of your time with) any differently?” asks Kenyon. PollUp.io uses polling to gather feedback from employees in a timely manner, helping to build a stronger company culture, while providing a return that benefits the bottom line. The company currently operates out of Ames, Iowa.

Kenyon describes the assistance they received from the SBDC as “quick, simple, and effective. It allowed us to further understand the market we were getting into,” he explains. “This was especially needed as we were entering a new ball game for us in terms of who our potential customers were. [The SBDC] allowed us to discover the best ways to further communicate and build relationships with companies we wanted to work with.”

PollUp.io plans to continue expanding their company, with a new development that the industry has been desperately needing coming hopefully by the end of the summer. They were recently nominated as one of the top five student start-ups in Iowa by the Technology Association of Iowa, yet they would describe their biggest triumph as launching a product that solves the exact problem they set out to solve back in October of 2015.

For more information on this interesting company, visit PollUp.io.

Solon Business Chosen For SBDC Award




Solon Learning Academy chosen as Small Business of the Month  

AMES, Iowa – America’s SBDC Iowa is pleased to announce that Kristen Struzynski and Emily Elsasser, founders, Solon Learning Academy, Solon, are the winners of the SBDC’s Business of the Month Award.

Paul Heath, regional director of the University of Iowa SBDC, Coralville says, “It was a pleasure helping Kristen and Emily open their daycare and preschool business. Their goal is to offer a complete early learning experience, to ensure that children are kindergarten ready and a step ahead of the rest, and they have succeeded.”

Solon Learning Academy, which opened in 2013, is a complete preschool readiness program that focuses on seven different dimensions. Its unique learning experience includes learning from outside sources, weekly one-on-one instruction, and individualized curriculum development. Children learn through their own curiosity, persistence, and creativity in classrooms divided into different centers full of stimulating materials designed to enhance learning.

The SBDC Business of the Month Award will be presented to Kristen and Emily by SBDC Regional Director Paul Heath, who nominated the business for the award.

For more information on Solon Learning Academy, visit its website at http://www.solonlearningacademy.com or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Solon-Learning-Academy-500614383297058/?fref=ts.

The America’s SBDC Iowa program is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s College of Business. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the organization has 15 regional assistance centers located strategically across the state. Since program inception in 1981, the Center has helped hundreds of thousands of Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs through no cost, confidential, customized, professional business counseling and practical, affordable training.

For more information on America’s SBDC Iowa programs or services, call (515) 294-2030 or visit www.iowasbdc.org.

Press Contacts:

Tricia Janes, America’s SBDC Iowa, 515-294-2030, triciaj@iastate.edu

Paul Heath, University of Iowa SBDC, 319-335-3742, paul-heath@uiowa.edu