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IEDA provides funding to five Iowa startups

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board today approved innovation funding for five startups located in Altoona, Le Claire, West Des Moines and Iowa City. 

In total, the IEDA awarded $500,000 in funding. Here are the five startups that received funding:


HomePainter, based in Des Moines, has developed an online estimating tool that provides homeowners with a fast and accurate paint estimate in less than five minutes. HomePainter then subcontracts booked jobs to local vetted and registered painters.

The company was awarded a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan for product refinement, market planning and key personnel.

Trigger Interactive

Le Claire-based Trigger Interactive is currently under development of A.I.M.S.S. (Attachable Interactive Modular Shooting System).

A.I.M.S.S. is a wireless and expandable system of smart target attachments that mount to steel firearm targets and give the targets the ability to interact with the user. The company plans to do product and consumer testing to make informed decisions on how to move forward with commercialization.

Trigger Interactive was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for market analysis, proof of concept work, product refinement, market planning, and adding personnel and equipment.


Nased in West Des Moines, MakuSafe has developed wearable technology that improves safety for factory workers, while reducing worker compensation claims and mitigating workplace risks.

Its wearable technology gathers real-time environmental and motion data from workers to identify high-risk trends in facilities.

The company was awarded a $100,000 loan from the Demonstration Fund for market planning and expanding its team.


Based in Iowa City, Rantizo is developing a platform that identifies of in-field anomalies applies agricultural chemicals aerially via drones.

Rantizo’s revolutionary spray techniques will reduce labor, increase crop yields and diminish environmental damage from chemical overapplication, spray drift, crop destruction and soil compaction.

Just last week, Rantizo became the first Iowa company legally authorized to use drones for the aerial application of agrochemicals

Rantizo was awarded a $100,000 loan from the Demonstration Fund for product development and evaluation, field trials, product refinement, market planning, and initial production costs and regulatory advancement.

Lender Close

Lender Close, based in West Des Moines, is a unique web-based application/software built to provide credit unions and community lenders the latest mortgage lending technology products and solutions.

The company was awarded a $250,000 Propel loan from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund that will be used for compliance and risk management.

Previous coverage

IEDA provides $350,000 in funding to five startups -Aril 2, 2019

MākuSafe raises nearly $3 million seed round -Feb. 14, 2019

HomePainter offers estimates for painting projects online -Feb. 5, 2019

Rantizo is bringing drone technology to the ag industry –-Oct. 15, 2018

IEDA provides funding to five Iowa startups | 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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