Get to know the entrepreneurs making up Zeal’s second CO.STARTERS cohort
Zeal is preparing to launch its second CO.STARTERS cohort on May 4, and they’ve assembled another exceptional group of entrepreneurs hoping to improve their communities through innovative startup ventures.
Some are just working with ideas, while others have already launched businesses, but they’re all joining the program eager to learn, grow and make new connections and realizations along the way. If the previous cohort is any indicator, it should be an exciting 10 weeks.
Over the course of the program, facilitators Ty Vuong and Tove Hoff Bormes will walk participants through an experience designed to test and refine their business ideas—a welcome challenge for these entrepreneurs who are looking for clarity and support. By the time graduation rolls around, they will know if they have a concept worth pursuing, and if so, what their next steps should be.
Cohort 2 includes 15 participants and 14 businesses, some of which are public and others that are choosing to remain private for the time being. Keep reading to learn a little more about these entrepreneurs and their pursuits.
CO.STARTERS is made possible by the generous support of sponsors like Eide Bailly, Boyce Law Firm, and The First National Bank in Sioux Falls.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Sydney Bartunek Bender
The entrepreneur: Sydney is the founder of Move To Heal South Dakota, and she describes this role as honoring her soul. She grew up dancing from a young age and has always felt a deep passion to give back through the healing power of movement. After serving as her father’s caregiver for over 10 years, she was able to experience firsthand the hope, joy, and healing that the arts in health provided.
The business: Established in December 2019, Move To Heal South Dakota is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission of bringing therapeutic movement and mindfulness sessions to healthcare and community settings across the state. We share practical and effective tools to begin regulating the nervous system, strengthening emotional resilience, and allowing a sense of hope to restore the body.
We are addressing the lack of access to healing movement and mindfulness opportunities to diverse and historically underserved populations in South Dakota, both on a reservation in Sisseton and within the urban community of Sioux Falls, through our upcoming summer programming. Our intergenerational focus endeavors to reach people who cannot afford or access existing offerings of movement and mindfulness based in wellness, mental health, healing and joy.
Team size: 1
The entrepreneur: Lynn Bartholow’s career has been devoted to leading organizations and building teams and partnerships centered on advancing the clinical research enterprise; namely to better connect patients and providers to clinical trials. She has been managing clinical trial operations for 15+ years, and throughout this time, she has collaborated with pharma, device, and Contract Research Organizations (CROs) for the direct execution of over 200+Phase I-IV clinical trials.
Contact: Connect with Lynn on LinkedIn.
The entrepreneur: Rob Hodgdon is the founder of Futurescape 3D LLC, Sioux Falls’ first and only 3D print lab. Rob works to manufacture custom products for his clients that will help them grow their business to unprecedented heights. His creative perspective has earned him the opportunity to work on prominent projects with Disney and Michelin. At the age of 35, Rob has established himself as the prominent 3D printing expert in his area. He is happiest when spending time with his two daughters Caitlin and Brooke as they all navigate life together as a family.
The business: Futurescape 3D LLC works with inventors and other companies to create prototypes, architectural models, dental aligners, movie props, and even orders of small/medium volume parts using 3D printing technology. Alongside our clients, we go through the design phase and then manufacture exactly what they need.
Team size: 4
Contact: Visit Futurescape 3D on Facebook.
The entrepreneur: Rhiannon Israel founded Welcome Sioux Falls in August 2018 to provide services for new residents transitioning into the Sioux Falls community. Having moved across the country many times during her childhood and as an adult, she identified a need within our community that coincides with the undeniable growth within Sioux Falls. She is ready to provide a warm welcome and services to assist others as they go through their transition into Sioux Falls.
The business: Welcome Sioux Falls, LLC is a professional welcome service available to the Sioux Falls community. We work with businesses/recruiters/individuals/families that are relocating (or hiring employees from out of town) and provide personal assistance with their transition into the Sioux Falls community.
Team size: 1
The entrepreneur: When you work with UpFrame Creative, you work with Carrie Kuhl—entrepreneur, wife, mom, photographer, web & graphic designer—a bunch of positivity all rolled into one person. She loves using her skills to nurture small businesses from their very inception or take existing ones to the next level. Since starting her business, Kuhl has been able to help more than 150 business owners and nonprofits.
When Kuhl isn’t working at UpFrame, she’s growing everything around her; mentoring designers by hiring design interns or teaching graphic design for The School of Design at South Dakota State University.
The business: UpFrame Creative is a boutique agency specializing in helping small businesses and nonprofits with website design, graphic design, logos and branding.
Team size: 2
The entrepreneur: In late 2016, Jared began working on a business plan to bring a new testing service to rural South Dakota. He eventually saved up enough to get an SBA 7(a) loan and secure the funding for a new venture called East Prairie Laboratories.
After the 2020 election results on Amendment A and IM 26, he decided it was time to pivot his business to testing cannabis products, starting with industrial hemp. He built a business plan, put together lab protocols, and filed Cannabis Chem Lab Inc. as a domestic corporation in South Dakota.
Team size: 3
The entrepreneur: Emmett Reistroffer is an advocate, consultant and entrepreneur. He has extensive experience in the legal cannabis industry, and outside of that, is known for contributing toward positive community impacts, such as art installments, neighborhood beautification, the Denver GREEN TEAM, and more.
He also has experience in political management, having advised several state and local candidates and led two historic ballot campaigns in Colorado. Most recently, he has expanded his business network to start Sioux Falls Pedicabs, which will provide ride services in his hometown and support the interconnectivity of the downtown business community.
The business: Sioux Falls Pedicabs seeks to enhance the downtown experience by providing a safe and sustainable transportation option and by increasing connectivity between businesses, residents and visitors, and our parks, trails, and the great outdoors.
Team size: 2
The entrepreneur: Dave is an ambitious, motivated, and driven individual who likes to think and work outside of the box. Now that his children are grown, Dave is turning his spare time and attention toward moving some of his ideas down the development road, and he is excited to see where these roads lead. He is looking forward to attending CO.STARTERS, learning how to take his ideas from concept to commercialization, and seeing what the future holds.
Team size: 1
Gavin Van De Walle
The entrepreneur: Gavin Van De Walle started Dakota Dietitians in 2018 while training to become a registered dietitian. The company provides dietitian consulting services for various settings, including long-term care, home health care, and addiction treatment centers, among others, across South Dakota and neighboring states.
Outside of Dakota Dietitians, Van De Walle is a nutrition and health writer.
The business: Dakota Dietitians provides consulting services for various settings, including long-term care, home health care, and addiction treatment centers, among others, across South Dakota and neighboring states.
Team size: 3
Logan Wolf & Matthew Cole
Logan Wolf grew up in Sioux Falls and went on to attend South Dakota State University (SDSU) for a mechanical engineering degree. He later decided to switch majors to biotechnology, and went on to find a job at Agricultural Engineering in biopolymer and natural preservatives research. Through that opportunity, he co-founded a company called Prairie Biotech.
Matthew Cole is Wolf’s co-founder, and he has a vision of eliminating food spoilage by employing agricultural byproducts. He began his biotech pursuits at SDSU, aided by his grandfather, Larry, and Dr. Bill Gibbons. In 2016, he gained his first research grant studying engineering properties of soybean biomaterials.
From there he joined Dr. Jimmy Gu’s fellowship, discovering the potential of undesirable agricultural byproducts. With his mentors, Dr. Gu and Dr. Gibbons, Cole found canola meal to be a viable, natural preservative. In the coming years, he dug further into the use of oilseed meals to reduce food spoilage, leading him to his newest venture, Prairie Biotech.
Prairie Biotech’s goal is to prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables using sustainable technologies and natural preservatives. Wolf and Cole are looking to pilot their food preservation technologies before the end of 2021 and are looking for end-users to get involved.
Team size: 5