Four startups receive funding from IEDA

Last week, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved innovation funding for four startups located in Ames, Cedar Falls and DeWitt. In total, $100,000 was awarded to the four startups.

Hear are the four startups that received funding:

Curiosity Labs

Curiosity Labs, a data acquisition company in Ames, develops platforms that automate manual visual tasks with computer vision. With a camera-enabled microscope for parasite detection in soil samples, they can answer questions for farmers regarding the reduction in soybean yields from common parasites, like nematodes. The cost of testing is high because the process is manual, which prevents farmers from treating the soil. Curiosity Labs’ automated platform decreases the testing cost, improves testing consistency and increases throughput.

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


Ames-based Distynct uses A.I. and smart camera technologies to provide swine producers with a fully automated herd monitoring solution. Distynct helps swine producers overcome the burden of relying on the retrospective evaluation of data that is manually recorded. The technology puts critical production data such as real-time inventory, mortality monitoring, bio-security tracking, and supply chain mapping at the fingertips of caregivers and key decision makers.

The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for IP development, proof of concept work, product refinement and key personnel.


Dhakai, based in Cedar Falls, is a B2B online sourcing marketplace offering an alternative way to source for apparel companies. Dhakai’s technology application connects U.S. retailers and private labels directly to verified Southeast Asian apparel manufacturers, allowing buyers to plug in their sourcing needs and then view the most relevant factories based on the search algorithm. Their global transparency, compliance and sustainability data help reduce costs and time.

The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for IP development, market planning/market entry activities and key personnel.

FarmHand App

FarmHand App’s online platform gives farmers and ranchers the ability to easily connect with quality farm hands. With the technology, farmers can view a farm hand’s work experience and availability, as well as review applications and handle communication, providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to hire and manage farm hands.

The company, based in DeWitt, was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for product refinement, market planning/market entry activities and other expenses.