Posted on February 11, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Guest Writer Guest Writer
Written By: Emily Haan, Marketing & Public Relations Intern, Ames Chamber of Commerce
“Do you like dogs?”
This is a question that Kevin Maher, entrepreneur and the founder of VetMeasure, asks his interviewees to ensure their passion for animals is just as fervent as his own.
Back in 2015, Maher established VetMeasure with the mission to create a product that was unrealized in veterinary practices, specifically focused on helping companion animals. Today, VetMeasure provides innovative technology monitoring veterinary health for companion animals and livestock animals. Located in the Iowa State University Research Park, Maher has had multiple start-ups affiliated with the Research Park and is no stranger to all the amenities that Ames has to offer. Maher said he enjoys the energy that comes with being around other entrepreneurial companies.
“It’s nice being in an environment with other start-ups. Same building, same area,” said Maher. “The Research Park encourages trying to get collaboration going.”
These collaborations have led VetMeasure into projects with the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and the Cybiz Lab. Both connections were facilitated by the Research Park to build a closer relationship with students, community innovators and other businesses. Several years ago, VetMeasure ran a video project through the CyBiz lab that they still utilize to this day. Maher said these long-lasting relationships are one of the many advantages of being a Research Park tenant. Another crucial part of VetMeasure’s success, according to Maher, has been the proximity to Iowa State’s deep talent pool.
“The precedent at Iowa State has been a big thing,” said Maher. “We have the veterinary school, the Pappajohn Center, the resources at the Research Park and we have a wide inventory of young talent we can choose from that’s right here.”
The topnotch students coming out of Iowa State make being a business in Ames that much more advantageous, and Maher recognizes these favorable circumstances. VetMeasure’s team hires a couple interns every year, mostly coming from the university. Maher’s goal is to employ innovative minds that can launch new ideas in the communication area of VetMeasure.
“We are encouraging innovators to come up with ideas and uniquely position our company so that we can gain more and more social media traction,” said Maher. “We also allow vet students to come in and contribute in a unique way. Their innovation is fed by our unique market position and our unique product we continue to offer.”
One of these innovative minds is Rachel Zumbach, the marketing and communications intern at VetMeasure and a senior at Iowa State University. Zumbach has been fortunate enough to intern at VetMeasure for several months. This job has added immeasurable value to her experience, considering typical internships only last 12 weeks. This lengthier position has granted Zumbach the opportunity to create long-standing goals.
“I really value the Research Park and how they have allowed VetMeasure to have so many interns, as well as supporting the interns,” said Zumbach.“It’s really helpful to be a student on campus and have that close-to-campus job.”
At VetMeasure, Zumbach is in charge of creating social media content and increasing brand awareness. Zumbach said her internship supplies her with substantial insight and helps her to learn hands-on. While learning at her internship, Zumbach gains valuable knowledge and business savvy that she can supplement with the curriculum she is learning at school. Zumbach also appreciates that she is able to build her network while working at Research Park, as it is a familiar place for Iowa State professors and business professionals to build community.
“I am able to say ‘I work for somebody at the Research Park’, and then my professors want to know more about VetMeasure, and then my professors have that connection too.” says Zumbach.
At VetMeasure, Zumbach and the other interns not only have the opportunity for onsite job training and building their resumes and experiences, but they are also allowed to explore innovation in a setting outside of the classroom.
“We have a lot of brainstorming activities; everyone gets involved and shares their ideas,” says Zumbach. “It’s super fun to be able to come into the office and share my outrageous ideas.”
Zumbach says that Maher and the rest of the VetMeasure team rarely try to hold her back and are constantly encouraging her to be creative and challenge herself. For Maher and his team, there are no limits.
“I think it’s really exciting being able to be creative in your own way and not having limits,” says Zumbach. “We haven’t had limits on this type of innovation, and it’s really exciting to see where it goes in the future.”
Maher says that as VetMeasure expands, he plans to grow in Ames and continue to capitalize on all the resources this city has to offer. This is just the beginning for Maher and his team at the Research Park.