Companies with ISU ties take top honors in state Pappajohn business plan contest

AMES, Iowa -- Companies with Iowa State University founders finished first and third respectively in the third annual statewide John Pappajohn Business Plan Competition. It is the third consecutive year that companies with Iowa State ties have earned the top prize.

Submittal Exchange, a Des Moines-based company founded by Iowa State graduate Matt Ostanik -- who earned both a degree in architecture and his MBA at ISU -- was awarded the first-place prize of $25,000. The company's software reduces paperwork, saves resources and improves collaboration for architects, engineers, and contractors with a comprehensive, secure online system for exchanging and reviewing construction submittals electronically.

Innovation Vibration Solutions (IVS) -- founded by Atul Kelkar, a professor of mechanical engineering at ISU; and Jerald Vogel, an Iowa State emeritus professor in aerospace engineering -- was awarded the third-place prize of $10,000. IVS has developed an innovative vibration isolation technology which provides for superior suspension solutions for various applications, such as reducing the road impact felt by truck drivers.

Six of the competition's eight finalists were Iowa State companies that had worked with Mike Upah -- the business development director at ISU's Pappajohn Center, Iowa Small Business Development Centers -- as they developed their businesses.

This year's John Pappajohn Business Plan Competition award recipients were honored at the Iowa Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship Conference in Des Moines. In the three years of the competition, six of the nine award winners have been clients of ISU's Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

The Pappajohn Center ( creates a culture that promotes entrepreneurship and creative innovation and provides the necessary tools to improve and expand Iowa's businesses.