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Investing in Iowa: Q1 2019

The following is a list of all known investments raised by Iowa companies through the first quarter of 2019. In total, Iowa-based companies raised just over $7.3 million.

Here is a list of Iowa companies that raised investment money in Q1 of 2019.

Q1 2019

Companies LocationAmount RaisedDate
IGORDes Moines$537,00003-21-19
InseerIowa City$150,00003-25-19
InvoltaCedar Rapids$2,300,00001-11-19
LEAH LaboratoriesAmes$150,00003-19-19
MakusafeWest Des Moines$2,850,00002-14-19
Predictive Health Partners Des Moines$40,000
RAYGUNDes Moines$582,00002-13-19
ViewPoint Molecular

Investment rounds took a dip in size

While the number of companies that raised money this quarter stayed roughly the same, the size of the rounds decreased. The average amount raised this quarter was $816,000. For comparison, in Q4 of 2018, eight companies raised a total of over $15 million, making for an average round size of $1.9 million.

Lots of funding in Central Iowa

Seven of the nine companies that received money in Q1 were from either Des Moines or Ames, with the other two from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. This, largely, falls in line with investments we tracked throughout 2018. In 2018, 18 of the 31 companies that raised investment money were based in Des Moines or Ames.

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.

Clay & Milk composes 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.

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Investing in Iowa: Q1 2019 | 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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