AMES, Iowa (April 26, 2019) — Iowa State University Startup Factory today announced that cohort six team HomePainter won first place and $2,500 in the Startup Ames Pitch Competition held as part of the 2019 Ames Seed Capital annual meeting April 23 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center, Ames.

The competition featured several Iowa State University and other local, early-stage startups. The companies pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges, vying for prizes totaling $5,000.

HomePainter is an Iowa State-based startup with an online subcontracting platform aimed at creating value for homeowners and contractors within the painting industry. Akron-based Insulights, which provides a universal electric fence insulator with an embedded LED light, won second place and $1,500, while NXGen Care of Ames, a novel health care product company which aims to automate key operational aspects of Skilled Nursing Facilities, won $1,000.

Companies chosen to present included: Iowa State-based LunchSox, True360, Aloha Corporation, and HomePainter, and local startups, My Nest Egg Invest, Cardio Diagnostics, Xilution, Inc., Stratafolio, NXGen Care, Insulights, and Ramdo Solutions, LLC.

Iowa State University seniors, Jacob McClarnon, (entrepreneurship and marketing) and Anthony House, (software engineering) co-founded HomePainter during the 2018 Pappajohn Center CYstarters summer accelerator program.  The team was accepted in January into the ISU Startup Factory’s sixth cohort.

McClarnon credits the Iowa State programs for helping to advance his business.

“Our participation in these exceptional entrepreneurial-support programs has been very beneficial to our company,” said McClarnon. “At CYstarters, you spend the first week figuring out just how to tell people about what you’re doing, about your business. You get a lot of practice, standing up almost every day you meet, giving your 90-second pitch to the group. I didn’t realize just how valuable it would be, but the experience absolutely helped us not only in pitch competitions, but also every time we’ve talked at luncheons and met with investors and people in the industry. You’re constantly pitching, so CYstarters was a huge help in teaching us how to make our pitch more concise, straight to the point, and connect important facts to it.

“At the Startup Factory, the companies are further along, so we are focusing more on business commercialization and really looking at how to ‘make it happen.’ When we joined the Startup Factory we were just going to market in Des Moines. The Startup Factory teaching staff have been a huge help, especially as we are working through discovering our market channels and some communication issues we were having with our subcontractors.”

McClarnon and House are no strangers to pitch competitions and the winner’s circle. In January, HomePainter competed in the Western University Ivey Business Plan Competition held in London, Ontario, Canada. Out of eighteen teams of undergraduate and graduate level university students from the United States, Mexico, and Canada, HomePainter made it to the finals and walked away with $15,000 and the top prize.

In November 2018, HomePainter shared the winners-circle with LunchSox taking first and $900 in the 90 Seconds for Elevator Pitch Competition, held as part of Agricultural Entrepreneurship Week at Iowa State University.

The Startup Ames Pitch Competition gave McClarnon yet another opportunity to hone his pitch and share his business vision.

“Competitions like these are very valuable experiences,” said McClarnon. “Winning the money is fantastic, but as an entrepreneur, it’s also always extremely validating to learn a panel of judges and an audience agree that your concept is worth awarding the first place prize. It keeps you moving forward, when people validate your ideas.”

McClarnon said HomePainter’s next focus will be competing in two statewide competitions being held this weekend. The company is one of 12 teams selected to advance to the finals in the 2019 Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition April 26 in Des Moines. Three top awards of $5,000 will be presented and $500 each will be awarded to the nine remaining finalists.

Additionally, HomePainter is slated to present at the 2019 Young Entrepreneur Convention (YEC) Elevator Pitch Competition April 27 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. Startups will compete for a chance to win part of $50,000 in cash and prizes.


About HomePainter:
HomePainter, founded by Jacob McClarnon and Anthony House, is an online platform aimed at creating value for homeowners and contractors within the painting industry. Its online platform enables homeowners to get fast, accurate estimates with ease, and provides vetted painters with jobs at no cost. For more information on HomePainter, visit

About 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

Julie Lelonek, Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations Communications

Iowa State University
Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations
1805 Collaboration Place
Ames, IA  50010