New site aims to highlight Iowa startup investment raises

A website put together by a Des Moines startup mentor is aiming to show that there is a track record of startups raising money in Iowa.

Mike Colwell of Square One DSM has been putting together a “Raising Capital in Iowa” database that lists Iowa-based companies that have raised money, how much they raised and advice from their founders for other entrepreneurs. The team over at NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids also helped with the site.

The list includes companies from across the state like AgriSync, Banno, Bawte, BirdDogHR, Certintell, Gain Compliance, Igor, SwineTech, Telepharm and more.

The “Raising Capital in Iowa” website lists startups that have raised money in Iowa. This screenshot shows an example of the information. (Screenshot/Raising Capital In Iowa website)

A number of startup founders have cited the difficulty that can arise with trying to raise money in Iowa. Iowa isn’t also seen by many as a hotbed for startup investment.

The organizers and sponsors behind the “Raising Capital in Iowa” page said they put it together to show that raising money in Iowa is possible.

The list is not a comprehensive record of every investment raise by Iowa companies. Even so, it does offer one of the few roundups of Iowa fund raises (at least that this reporter is aware of). Gravitate founder Geoff Wood — also a Clay & Milk co-founder — put together this list last year of aggregate raises from 2010 to 2015.

Colwell said he has limited submissions to post-2008 recession raises. Submissions are also voluntary, so only companies that provide their information to Colwell are on the list.

The investments are also given as a range, and not specific amounts per company. Colwell said he used a dollar range to let more startups participate, since some companies may not be permitted to say the exact amount they have raised from investors.

A number of Iowa groups, such as Square One DSM, NewBoCo and the Iowa Venture Capital Association, have linked to the raising capital site.

Raising Capital seminar

On March 30, The Greater Des Moines Partnership will host a “Raising Capital Seminar” to run through the process for startups wanting to raise funds.

Speakers include Charise Flynn, the former COO of Dwolla, angel investors and startup mentors Mike Colwell and Sheldon Ohringer, JD Geneser of LWBJ Capital Advisors and BrownWinick attorney Chris Sackett.

Funnelwise founder Matt Ostanik will also give a talk on lessons learned from raising funds. His company raised $7 million last year.

Admission is $30 for the all-day event.

Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at