Kris Johansen

AMES, IA — Interim Vice President for Economic Development and Industry Relations David Spalding announced he has appointed Kris Johansen as interim director of the Iowa State University Startup Factory. The appointment follows the departure of Startup Factory President Bill Adamowski.

Spalding said Johansen will continue in her roles as manager, industry engagement in the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) and Startup Factory COO. Johansen also serves on the campus I-Corps leadership team. I-Corps, a program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), prepares scientists and engineers to move NSF-supported research from their labs towards commercialization.

“We are excited that Kris has agreed to serve in this capacity as we continue implementing our transition plan to find a permanent program director,” Spalding said. “I have no doubt the work of the Startup Factory will proceed without interruption under Kris’s strong leadership. I’d like to thank Kris for her many contributions to the program’s success and stepping up to lead as we navigate this transition in the Startup Factory.”

Spalding said to-date, over 100 startups have entered the program, and current and graduate companies have attracted more than $28.7 million in state and federal funding and private investment.

Johansen joined the EDIR team in August 2014 and is credited with helping to develop the curriculum and formal program structure prior to the Startup Factory’s June 2016 roll out. Spalding said Johansen has played a key role in providing formal training, refining the class structure, and securing program funding for the Startup Factory.

Program funding awarded includes two $200,000 grants from the State of Iowa’s Entrepreneurial Investment Awards program. The awards provide financial support to entrepreneurial assistance providers who are working to help entrepreneurs and startup companies build their businesses in Iowa.

Additionally, Spalding said Johansen was instrumental in securing Iowa State’s $406,569 grant to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

About ISU Startup Factory
The Iowa State University (ISU) Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program housed at the ISU Research Park (ISURP). Entrepreneurs in the Startup Factory receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs. For more information on the ISU Startup Factory program, call 515-294-7444 or visit