Wood: Iowa Startup Power Rankings for March

Iowa Startup Power Rankings Each month Clay & Milk publishes the Iowa Startup Rankings. Illustration by Nathan T Wright.

The Iowa Startup Power Rankings are back for month two!

If I’d had more time and creativity I’d have presented the March rankings in bracket format. However, since this NCAA basketball season was such a disappointment for most Iowans (and the tournament even more so) it wasn’t worth the effort. Better luck to all involved next year.

Here’s a quick reminder of the rules straight from the League Office:

  1. The Power Rankings are completely subjective and don’t actually mean anything. I’m doing this for fun.
  2. I’m not picking winners. I want to see everyone succeed and this community grow. If you don’t agree with a particular pick or think I missed something, feel free to debate it in the comments.
  3. I’m pretty good at picking up startup news from across the state but I don’t catch everything. If your startup is doing something great this month, let me know about it.
  4. I’ll usually pick companies but I reserve the right to substitute in individuals, events, organizations, fun YouTube videos or anything else that makes sense to me at the time I’m putting them together.
  5. Standard “King of the Hill”-rules apply, you retain your ranking until someone unseats you.

This post recognizes the achievements of companies and related organizations within the orbit of the Iowa startup community in the month of February 2018. Everybody ready? Let’s go.

March Power Rankings

1. TapOnIt Mobile Deals, LLC (Davenport)

This is TapOnIt Mobile Deals, LLC’s first appearance in the Iowa Startup Power Rankings

TapOnIt, a text-based advertising platform based in the Quad Cities, landed the top spot this month after news that had come to terms with a strategic investor, New York-based New Media Investment Group. While they say their specific terms don’t allow them to disclose financial details of this transaction—New Media Investment Group now owns a 20% equity stake—the company has reportedly raised $3 million total in investment capital since its 2015 launch.

Congrats on your new investor, TapOnIt, and congrats on your first appearance in the Iowa Startup Power Rankings.

More: Sisters generate deal to push startup beyond Iowa – Feb. 12

2. GlobalVetLINK (Ames)

This is GlobalVetLINK’s first appearance in the Iowa Startup Power Rankings

GlobalVetLINK, a 17-year-old software company serving the animal health industry from Ames raised their first investment round this month securing growth stage funds from Lead Edge Capital.

Like TapOnIt, GlobalVetLINK’s investment dollars came from New York City and the financial terms were not disclosed. The company did disclose that Lead Edge Capital will take 3 seats on GlobalVetLINK’s board.

Due to the age of the company, it’s a bit of a stretch to think of GlobalVetLINK as a “startup” but this seems like a big evolution and the League Office ruled in their favor.

More: GlobalVetLINK announces investment from Lead Edge Capital – Feb. 16

3. Magic Tee (Ames)

This is Magic Tee’s first appearance in the Iowa Startup Power Rankings

Third place on this months list is actually a side project for four “little league dads” from Ames.

The company is Magic Tee and they’re in the prototype phase of developing a baseball tee that holds the ball from above via suction rather than below via gravity. This is important for baseball reasons. Specific to February, the fatherly foursome launched a Kickstarter campaign and marketing blitz that hit everywhere from WHO-TV to Sports Illustrated.

Straight out of the gate it did well but could use some help getting to its ambitious $70,000 before it closes in the next few days.

More: Professionals share their passion project – March 7

4. Kitchen Council (Council Bluffs)

This is the Kitchen Council’s first appearance in the Iowa Startup Power Rankings

Iowa’s first food startup incubator has been cooking for more than a year but officially opened its doors in Council Bluffs this month and that is why the Kitchen Council comes in at #4.

The goal is to have all sorts of food-related companies in the program, “from those working on products to food truck and traditional restauranteurs”. They have three companies committed for their first cohort (or should that “first course?”) and they have ambitious plans to scale to as many as 25 companies by year’s end. I’m all for that.

More: Food startup incubator opens in Council Bluffs – Feb. 7

5. Hatchlings (Des Moines)

This is Hatchlings second appearance in the Iowa Startup Power Rankings

February was a short month and short on big news out of the startup community so Hatchlings, last month’s top company, inherits the spot due to League Rule #6, and their innovative work with iOS’s AR and facial recognition technologies.

Congratulations and good work.

Geoff Wood is the co-founder of Clay & Milk and the founder of Gravitate, a coworking community and entrepreneurial support organization in Des Moines. He’s been telling the story of the Iowa startup community since 2009.

Previous coverage

Iowa Startup Power Rankings for February – Feb. 8, 2018

The return of the Iowa Startup Power Rankings – Jan. 23, 2018