Cedar Rapids, IA – June 28, 2013 — Vault is changing the world, one project at a time. The coworking space, located today in the Guaranty Bank building in downtown Cedar Rapids, has been the home of some of the Corridor’s most successful recent startups. For example, RecBob (now NextStep.io) recently moved temporarily to Portland, OR for a 90-day accelerator program with Nike, and Bandwidth Pool just announced a $100,000 loan from the state of Iowa for its expansion.
“In two years, Vault has developed an intense community of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers that collaborate to start businesses and solve big problems,” says Amanda Styron, CEO of Vault. “We’ve found that there is a huge pool of entrepreneurial talent in the Corridor, and we’re trying to draw it out and bring it together so we can exponentially increase the number of new business starts.”
That pool of entrepreneurs includes Eric Engelmann, president and CEO of Geonetric, a 14-year old Cedar-Rapids-based software company.
“We started Geonetric in 1999 and there was nothing like this available in Cedar Rapids to support entrepreneurs,” says Engelmann. “We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go to make this a thriving entrepreneurial environment. Vault is tapping into something that the Corridor has lacked up to this point: a concentrated community network of entrepreneurs that can share ideas and collaborate.”
Styron and Engelmann will soon share more than a vision – they’ll share a building. Geonetric is slated to
break ground this summer on a 5.5 million dollar new building in the popular New Bohemia arts and entertainment district. Vault will take up residence on the building’s second floor, and in a unique arrangement, the two organizations will share much of the space.
“When you put really smart people in close proximity to each other, the speed of learning is increased dramatically,” says Andy Stoll, co-founder of Vault. “We don’t have that density today, everyone is spread out. By combining Geonetric’s team of 70 with the startups and members of Vault, we think we’ll be approaching critical mass and be able to accomplish much more together than we would separately.”
While the idea is new to the Corridor, it is being done elsewhere. Zappos’ founder Tony Hsieh is implementing a similar project on a much larger scale in Las Vegas called The Downtown Project. The initiative is aiming to simultaneously rebuild and revitalize a neglected area of the city, foster creativity and new startups, and is anchored by Zappos, an existing and successful company.
“The Zappos project has inspired us to do something similar in our community,” says Styron. “The Creative Corridor already has a fantastic array of talent, lots of startups, and established businesses that can provide support and guidance. This project will bring it all together and accelerate new ideas, and new problem solving approaches.
Vault’s members are already working on some of those problems, and they’re not for the faint of heart. The Big Ideas School, for example, aims to reform education as we know it; The Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project will be joining Vault soon and is trying to improve the health and wellness of entire community populations.
“Education reform and population health are huge challenges. This project is about putting the right ingredients in place to see a tremendous explosion of brain power focused on solving these tough problems through new businesses or new ideas,” says Stoll. “This partnership, and the new facility, are a huge leap forward for Vault and for our community.”
Geonetric helps healthcare organizations develop Web strategies that engage consumers. VitalSite®, Geonetric’s content management software, is the foundation of websites, portals and intranets for more than 500 hospitals, physician groups and clinics around the country. Geonetric also provides a comprehensive suite of online services – from Web strategy and design, to content development and responsive marketing campaigns, to online support and hosting – all designed to turn prospects into patients and deliver measurable results. Visit www.geonetric.com to learn more and follow us on Twitter @geonetric.