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Terva, Smart Ag among nine startups receiving funding from IEDA

Nine startups—including two from Ames—received funding Friday morning from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, according to a news release.

Ames-based AgTech startups Terva and Smart Ag each received $100,000 in funding, according to the release.

Smart Ag—which designed a product to automate agricultural machinery—received a $100,000 loan from the Demonstration fund for equipment, key personnel, market entry activities and product refinement.

Terva—an online marketplace for landowners and farmland professionals—received a $100,000 loan from the Demonstration Fund for market planning and market entry activities.

The other startups receiving funding were:

  • Corn Oil One
  • Ag Manufacturing & Technology
  • Stover Ventures LLC
  • FarrPro Inc.
  • Inc.
  • ExpressSeed LLC
  • Structurely

According to the release, the Demonstration Fund provides financial and technical assistance to encourage high-technology prototype and concept development activities that have clear potential to lead to commercially viable products or services with a reasonable period of time.

The fund provides financial assistance to small and medium-sized companies in the advanced manufacturing, biosciences and information technology industries. The primary purpose of the fund is to help businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract later-stage, private sector funding.

Both Terva and Smart Ag received a $2,000 award Thursday during the Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition.

To view a list of all the companies receiving funding Friday from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, click here.

Terva, Smart Ag among nine startups receiving funding from IEDA | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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