Keynote Speakers – Industry



Geoff Wood


Geoff Wood is an entrepreneur, connector and the founder of Welch Avenue, an umbrella company that houses several initiatives related to the Iowa startup community including the Welch Avenue Weekly (a curated digest of the top startup and technology news for community in Iowa delivered each week) and the Welch Avenue Show (a web show/podcast highlighting founders across the state).


He’s also the COO of Startup Genome, a project working to build the most comprehensive and accurate database of startup activity around the world.


He was previously the COO of Silicon Prairie News (SPN), a digital media and event production company. At SPN, he was the company’s second employee and managed the operations of the business as it grew tenfold.


Geoff has co-founded several startups, including VolunteerLocal, Eggcrates, and CampusAuthority. He earned a B. Sc. from Iowa State University and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

James Eliason


James Eliason is Co-Founder/CEO of Goodsmiths an e-commerce platform for buyers and sellers of handmade and vintage goods. As a serial entrepreneur in Des Moines, James has started and/or been a part of 6 different web and mobile applications over the last 7 years.

John Jackovin

John Jackovin has been starting technology companies since 2000. Over the years John and his business partner Tom Love and developed many businesses, the latest being Bawte. A way for consumers to more easily own the products they own. Think of all the hassels you encountering buying things, setting them up, registering, trouble-shooting, fixing and more. All this goes away with Bawte, your personal product concierge service.