Why Iowa Profile: Doug Moore

Doug Moore Headshot

Why Iowa? Q&A with Doug Moore

Doug Moore
Entrepreneur in Residence, Cultivo

Doug Moore is an Iowa transplant originally from Erie, Pennsylvania. In 1993, Doug founded EuroSource LLC to market a device he co-developed for the manufacture of composite wood products, the CasTalon blending tool. In the 25+ years, Doug has operated EuroSource, he has been able to travel extensively throughout the world in support of that product and its successors. Doug and his wife, Amy, relocated to Iowa from Chicago in 2006.

Doug served as President of Ames Seed Capital, Iowa’s oldest community-based venture fund. He is also active in Iowa’s biofuel industry, having served on the Lincolnway Energy Board of Directors. He served recently on the Story County Planning and Zoning Commission and is a current Franklin Township Trustee.

Doug is a serial entrepreneur, having founded several businesses, as well as mentoring startups. He is a frequent guest lecturer at Iowa State’s College of Business on distressed assets and liquidation. Doug, Amy, their 2 children, and 2 large dogs live in Ames.

1. You served as the Entrepreneur in Residence of the inaugural cohort of the Cultivo Virtual Academy. What were some of the highlights from that experience?

By nature, people are geocentric. Cultivo reminded me that there’s a vibrant community of ag entrepreneurs worldwide and that we need to open our eyes to opportunities across the globe. In our first cohort, we met founders who are working for the betterment of the planet via food security, innovators who are using machine learning to reduce irrigation water use, and a University professor who is using biomass to develop plant-based chemicals. It was a great reminder that we don’t hold the exclusive on good ideas.

2. What advantages does Iowa offer to the startups involved in Cultivo .. and any new company?

The opportunities to connect and collaborate with other innovators and entrepreneurs in Iowa are incredible. There is not another place in the country where you can connect with so many leaders in the ag industry within the borders of the state, in addition to the resources at Iowa State University. Across the board, everyone is willing to help startups because they see the opportunities that everyone brings to the table.

For startups, an important development in the state is the availability of capital for early-stage firms. There are also several nationally known incubators now operating in Iowa such as Techstars and Insurance Accelerator. In addition, we have a very strong network of professionals needed by early-stage firms, such as accountants, business advisory firms, and top-quality attorneys who can assist founders in every aspect of their growth. In a nutshell, every resource a startup needs are within the borders of Iowa.

3. As an entrepreneur, you can live anywhere. Why have you chosen to stay in Iowa?

It seems easy to say, but Iowa truly is a good place to raise a family, and at a high quality of life. While I enjoyed the vibrancy of living in a big city like Chicago, the challenges of everyday living such as traffic and housing costs were too much to deal with when raising a family. Here in Iowa, my kids can ride their bikes safely and I know my neighbors. In particular, the cost of housing is a huge plus for us. With what we save on the cost of housing and other living expenses, we can afford to travel extensively.

4. What advice would you give someone considering a move to Iowa?

Throw away any preconceived notion you may have of Iowa and be prepared to learn about the state and its people. Buy your first home in a dynamic, evolving neighborhood and make the effort to build professional and personal relationships and get involved in your community. In towns and cities of all sizes, there is a myriad of volunteer, community, and statewide boards and commissions … all of which need active participants. Learn at least a little about agriculture in Iowa, and why our soil is among the very best in the world.

Finally, buy The Guide to Mom and Pop Restaurants in Iowa published by Our Iowa magazine. Then, get in your car and EAT! You’ll see a lot of the state and meet some wonderful people along the way.

5. Please give us three recommendations of things to do or places to go in Iowa.

For a great family trip, check out Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids. It includes more than 5,500 acres featuring a mix of recreation, conservation, education, and sustainable agriculture, all made possible by the conservation ethos of the Garst family. It is a hidden jewel with more than 40 miles of trails, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, camping, and farmhouse and cabin rentals.

The Seed Savers Exchange just outside of Decorah is the place to go if you enjoy heirloom fruits, vegetables, and flowers in your garden. The Heritage Farm location features the Lillian Goldman Visitors Center, gift and garden store, display gardens, hiking trails, and fishing. Decorah is a great little college town with excellent food … the peanut butter burger at T-Bock’s is spectacular!

The Museum of Danish America in Elkhorn is truly off the beaten path, but well worth the visit. Elkhorn beat out Minneapolis for this museum in a national search, and it is a perfect fit in this Iowa small town. The museum provides a fascinating look at the Danish migration to Iowa.