ISU team takes a top prize in Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan competition

AMES, Iowa -- Scout Pro -- a software application proposed by a team of Iowa State University students to assist a grower in the identification of weeds, insects and diseases -- was chosen as one of the three top prize winners during the finals of the statewide Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition Friday at the Pappajohn Higher Ed Center in Des Moines.

Juniors Michael Koenig (Pleasantville, Iowa) and Holden Nyhus (Forest City, Iowa) and sophomore Stuart McCulloh (Camanche, Iowa) - all ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students -- received a $5,000 top prize for their new venture. Teams from the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa took the competition's other two top prizes.

Three Iowa State entries were among 12 finalists chosen from more than 40 entries in the statewide competition. The finalists presented their business plans last Friday to John Pappajohn -- president of Equity Dynamics, Inc., Des Moines, and founder of the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers in Iowa -- and two of his senior vice presidents, Brian Thompson and Matt Kinley. The winning entries were chosen on the content and viability of their plans.

The ISU students' business plan says Scout Pro will be utilized on an iPad or other hand-held device, allowing the user to take a picture of the pest. After the pest has been identified, the software will provide additional information on it from an Iowa State database.

Other Iowa State finalists were MBA student Nate Pettitt (Carroll, Iowa) for Linked4Golf, a company designed to allow golf courses to join forces to become more successful; and aerospace engineering senior Sam Robinson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and graduate Matt Plasek (David City, Neb.) for Pink Elephant Development, a company that would allow people to create their own hardware add-ons for smartphones.

The competition is open to any Iowa university or college student/team with an interest in starting a business. John Pappajohn created the competition 11 years ago.

More information is available through ISU's Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship Web site at