President & CEO
Steve joined BioConnect Iowa in December 2021. He has more than 30 years of experience in public and private sectors and comes to BCI from Genus plc, a world-leading animal genetics company. Prior to Genus, he was at DuPont Pioneer in various roles over a 20-year career, leading global biotechnology and regulatory efforts, industry relations, sales and marketing planning and federal government relations. He holds a master’s degree in Agribusiness from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in Planning and Public Affairs from the University of Iowa.
SBIR/STTR Statewide Program Coordinator
Anne joined BioConnect Iowa in 2017. She works with businesses, research and educational institutions, federal program managers, and statewide service providers to help bioscience start-up companies grow and succeed. She holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Communication Studies, and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management and Museum Studies from the University of Iowa.
Steve joined BioConnect Iowa in 2019. He has 20+ years of experience in intellectual property, licensing, agribusiness, and startups. He has worked for Weil, Gotshal & Manges, McKee Voorhees & Sease, DuPont Pioneer (now Corteva Agriscience,) and The Context Network. Steve serves as CEO and co-founder of Inflexion Point Technologies, an Iowa-based prescription, on-planter seed treatment company. He earned a JD from Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, and a Bachelor of Art degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Northern Iowa.
Program Operations Manager
Currently in her sixth year with the organization, Safiya Lee-Evans holds the pivotal role of Program Operations Manager, overseeing the intricacies between innovation, investment, and operational excellence. As the architect behind the scenes, she manages the seamless operations of both BioConnect Iowa and its subsidiary, Iowa Venture Capital Co-Investment Fund (InnoVenture Iowa), a $30M co-investment fund for early-stage startups.
The implementation of new programs, alongside the management of InnoVenture Iowa’s portfolio companies, are the heart of Safiya’s role. She also directs the Iowa Go-To-Market Accelerator grant program, in partnership with Iowa State University, ensuring its continued success as a beacon for startups seeking accelerated growth.
Safiya’s 20-year career is a testament to her versatility, having accumulated a wealth of experience in marketing, business development, and operations across both public and private sectors. Her dynamic skill set positions her as a linchpin in the success stories of BioConnect Iowa and the startups fortunate to be a part of the InnoVenture Iowa portfolio.
Heather joined the BioConnect team in September 2023. She has over a decade of experience as an office manager, specializing in small team coordination and success. As a seasoned entrepreneur herself, Heather particularly enjoys being part of a team focused on bringing dreams and hard work to life, in support of Iowa startup founders.
Administrative Assistant (G2M program)
Sam joined BioConnect Iowa in 2020 in a part-time role providing administrative support for the Iowa G2M project. He has a background in communications and marketing and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa.
InnoVenture Iowa Fund
Kaylee Williams joined BioConnect Iowa in 2022 as the Investment Director for InnoVenture Iowa, a $30 million co-investment fund designed to support early-stage startup companies in biosciences, advanced manufacturing, and information technology. She is the former President of VolunteerLocal, a volunteer management software company, and the former Head of Customer Development at Roboflow. She is a trusted advisor with deep expertise in SaaS operations, developing early-stage traction and building high-performing teams.