#LFBOTB: Focus on the Tech Start-ups

We asked our friends at Silicon Prairie News to give us some details on the tech start-ups in the 2012 Lessing-Flynn Battle of the Brands bracket. A big thanks to Geoff Wood at SPN for his insight in compiling this information.

FreeBee Cards:
Their Words: FreebeeCards – “FreebeeCards is an online technology focused company that helps merchants design simple marketing campaigns that provide incentives for consumers to visit their location and or website while at the same time creating an open line of communication to new and existing customers.”
Wood: FreebeeCards was originally conceived in Denver but the team chose Des Moines for the HQ and launch city. They went live in recent months locally and are now working into other markets.
Their Words: Tikly – “Tikly is a ticketing platform that offers lower service fees, opens revenue streams for bands/venues/organizations and places tickets back in the hands of the talent & event organizer.”
Wood: Tikly recently rolled out the second version of their product and was one of the first startups to take residence at Startup City Des Moines. They continue to earn good press both locally and nationally.
Their Words: Goodsmiths – “Goodsmiths is the marketplace for makers. We help makers become smarter & more efficient at creating and selling their goods.”
Wood: Goodsmiths was originally called Craft.ly. In the last year they’ve grown the team significantly, launched their product in beta and taken on new office space in Valley Junction.



Their Words: Shoplr – “Shoplr is all about connecting with local places that you love. Quickly cut through the clutter and connect directly to local places that you love. Shoplr makes it easy to discover when and where to shop local. It’s your personal radar for shopping local.“
Wood: Shoplr is based in Ames and recently opened an office in the ISU Research Park. The company originally launched on iPhone and just added an Android option this month. They continue to focus on their home community of Ames all the while keeping an ear to the ground for the right time to expand into other markets.
Their Words: VolunteerLocal – “VolunteerLocal is the easiest way to organize, manage, schedule and communicate with volunteers”
Wood: VolunteerLocal continues to serve volunteers at events large and small in Central Iowa and across the nation. Recent product updates, a new pricing model and a refocused social strategy have been hallmarks of the company in the last year.


FreskLabs: Their Words: – “We specialize in conceptualizing and developing custom and pre-built solutions by using new and emerging technologies such as multi-touch, mobile development, and custom display surfaces. We believe these technologies will re-shape the way we interact with our daily environment – and here at FreskLabs, we dedicate ourselves to being part of that transformation.”

Wood: Fresk’s products include the BeerGenius (interactive product display) and noBooth (touchscreen photobooth) that can be found in several Des Moines establishments and at many local events.


Their Words: Change – “We’re working directly with independent businesses to help us re-imagine and and rebuild the point of sale experience.”
Wood: BitMethod has recently refocused their efforts from client work to their own products and Change is the flagship app. It’s a point-of-sale system for iOS and you can see it live with their first client Mars Cafe.
Their Words: Bawte – “Connecting consumers to the brands that connect with them.”
Wood: Bawte, which allows consumers to track and manage relationships with brands by scanning a barcode or custom QR code, charged right out of the gate this summer with a promotion at all Kum & Go convenience stores.

Geoff Wood is the COO and main connection point in Iowa for Silicon Prairie News (SPN), an organization working to increase the notability of the Silicon Prairie region – Des Moines, Omaha, Kansas City and surrounding area – as an innovation center and startup hub. In addition to putting out the premier technology publication in the area, the SPN team also produces events like Thinc Iowa and Big Omaha.


Wood works on the business side of SPN and has co-founded several startups, including VolunteerLocal (a management platform for any event sourcing volunteers from the public), Eggcrates (a modular furniture product), and CampusAuthority (a campus-by-campus online men’s magazine).