Investing in Iowa: Q4 2018

Illustration by Nathan Wright.

$105 million: That’s how much venture capital was raised by 31 different companies across Iowa in 2018, according to our findings.

In Q4, Iowa-based companies raised $14,513,000. That combined with the investments from Q1-Q3 brings the total amount raised in 2018 to $105,351,666 million. Here is a list of Iowa companies that raised investment money in Q4 of 2018.

Q4 2018

CompaniesLocationAmount RaisedDate
InvoltaCedar Rapids$5,200,00012-18-18
iotaMotionIowa City$2,100,00011-05-18
Kingland CompaniesAmes$752,00012-27-18
Performance Livestock AnalyticsAmes$2,250,00011-08-18
RantizoIowa City$500,00010-23-18
ShowpalDes Moines$1,600,00012-13-18
SwineTechCedar Rapids$1,500,00010-17-18
VetMeasureAmes$1,363,00010-26-18
$15,265,000

Key takeaways

Investments are coming from within the state

Much of the capital raised in 2018 came from investors within the state.

Next Level Ventures invested in several of the companies that raised capital in 2018 including Dwolla, Igor, LenderClose, BirdDogHR and Pitchly. Next Level recently started their second fund. By the end of their second fund, the firm plans to have invested in 20 Iowa-based companies with combined sales of at least $120 million.

Ag Startup Engine is another fund that invests in Iowa-based companies. Located in Ames, Ag Startup Engine invests smaller amounts-typically between $25,000 and $50,000 in early stage agtech companies. To date, Ag Startup Engine has invested in seven different ag startups located in Iowa.

Investment rounds are growing in size

17 of the 31 companies that raised capital in 2018 had rounds of over $1 million. While we do not have a detailed list of investment rounds from previous years, it appears that the average amount raised per round is increasing, with deals over $1 million making up more than 50 percent of investment rounds in 2018.

Lots of agtech and medical companies

Unsurprisingly, agtech companies made up a large chunk of the companies that raised capital in 2018. The majority of agtech companies that raised capital are located in central Iowa, with a large amount of those being in Ames. Several agtech companies raised rounds of over $1 million capital including Smart Ag, Tractor Zoom, Swinetech and Performance Livestock Analytics.

In Iowa City, the majority of the companies that raised investments were in the healthcare industry. IDx, an AI-based diagnostic system for the autonomous detection of diabetic retinopathy, raised a $33 million Series A round in September. This was the largest investment round of 2018.


This list was made from a combination of SEC filings, Crunchbase and previous Clay & Milk stories from throughout the year. If you are aware of investments we may have missed, please post them in the comments or send us an email and we will be sure to add them.

Going forward, we plan to compose a similar list of investments for every quarter to build a credible track record of capital raised throughout Iowa. Over time, we will add analysis to these posts, comparing past time periods and noting trends as they appear.