Columbus VC firm Drive Capital is exposed to Iowa

Events like the one held Tuesday afternoon at Research Park on the Iowa State University campus are designed around exposing venture capital firms from outside of Iowa, to what’s happening inside the state.

Nick Solaro, a partner at Drive Capital—a Columbus-based Venture Capital firm—spent nearly two hours talking with entrepreneurs Tuesday afternoon.

It was exactly what organizers hoped would happen.

Drive Capital is the largest venture capital firm in the Midwest and focuses on investing in Midwest startups. It launched a $250 million fund in 2014 and a $300 million fund in 2016. The meet and greet Wednesday was to connect local community leaders and entrepreneurs in the startup community who are actively raising capital, with Drive Capital.

Over 30 people attended the event at Research Park Tuesday.

Bill Adamowski is President of the Iowa State University Startup Factory and had several entrepreneurs participating in his program at the meet and greet.

“Today is primarily to show these guys there’s good deal flow out here,” Adamowski explained. “We are trying to get more relationships with VC’s from outside of the state. They need to come out here and understand the reality.”

Adamowski said spots are available for entrepreneurs to join the Iowa State University Startup Factory.

A crowd of over 30 people attended the meet and greet Tuesday afternoon with Drive Capital, a Columbus-based venture capital firm.

Steve Carter—President of the Iowa State University Research Park—said the 14-month-old Research Park building is ready and willing to host any event that could help an entrepreneur.

“Anything that provides an opportunity for the entrepreneurs to expand their networks, connect with potential resources and learn some lessons, those are all good things,” Carter said. “That’s what this place is all about.”

Carter said his office doesn’t have a yearly goal to host a certain number of events like the one held Tuesday.

“This was an opportunity so we took advantage of it,” Carter said.