The Techstars Iowa Accelerator is welcoming 10 new companies to the 2021 cohort. Nearly all those in this year’s cohort founded their business amid the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns during 2020, said Kerty Levy, managing director of Techstars Iowa.

“What that says is that they’re hopeful. They trust that they can create, they can make great things happen under times of hardship, and they know that they can be leaders and make a difference in the world,” Levy said.

Based in Clive, the mental health care startup Sevelyn will be the only local cohort member. Sevelyn is an alum of the Iowa Startup Accelerator and Venture School; the online therapy platform connects mental health professionals with Latino community members seeking culturally and linguistically relevant care in the U.S., Central America and South America.  

Working out of Gravitate Coworking Downtown, the accelerator will host all 10 companies in Des Moines for two weeks beginning today; founders will then take part in virtual programming for 10 weeks, and return to Des Moines for in-person sessions for one week before the virtual Demo Day ends the program.

“I think these are all founders who are leveraging technology and building upon new innovation to carve out the ‘new normal,’” Levy said. “Our No. 1 priority is founders who are mission-driven. They are absolutely connected to the problem that they’re working on.”

Four new staff members are joining Techstars Iowa this year: entrepreneur-in-residence Ben McDougal, lead operations associate Aadira Aai-Arivudal, business analyst associate Patrick Foster and design/UI/UX lead associate Alyx Sandbothe.

Techstars Iowa’s 2021 cohort members are:

CaseCTRL, an artificial intelligence platform for surgery management (Texas).
Onward, a freight/transportation logistics marketplace (Colorado).
Small Packages, a curated gift box marketplace (Pennsylvania).
LegalHQ, an on-demand legal service platform (Minnesota).
Flyte, an AI note-taking platform for meeting minutes (Canada);
Out of the Box, an edtech providing hardware for preschool learning (Massachusetts).
QuickHire, a career discovery and development platform for "new collar" workers (Kansas).
Sevelyn, a mental health support platform designed for the Latino community (Iowa).
Trend, an influencer marketing management platform (Texas).
Voxable, a voice and chat app design platform (Texas).