ISA Ventures raises $15 million to invest in Iowa-based companies

ISA Ventures (ISAV), a new venture capital fund connected to Iowa Startup Accelerator, has reached its first close of $15 million and will begin investing in Iowa-based companies emerging in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The fund ultimately aims to raise between $20 and $30 million to invest in about 100 companies over the next five years. Led by entrepreneur and investor Eric Engelmann, the fund is the largest venture fund of its type in Eastern Iowa.

The new fund will invest equally into early-stage pre-revenue startups, fast-growing young companies, and expansion-stage businesses, in a variety of technology-based industries including agriculture, education, food, healthcare, insurance, transportation, and more.

“Some of the best venture investments of the past 20 years emerged from the economic downturn of 2008-2009, so we see tremendous opportunity to invest and build the next generation of high-growth companies right here in Iowa. But this fund is about more than just return on investment, it’s also about investing for our region’s growth,” said Engelmann. “New companies will be key to economic recovery as we emerge from COVID-19.”

Engelmann’s prior fund, the $1.7 million ISA Fund I, invested in 41 companies from 2014 through 2019. ISA Ventures builds on this experience with a more capable fund, able to make larger investments over time as companies grow.

The fund has recruited an experienced investment committee consisting of local business leaders Steve Gray, Cammie Greif, Bruce Lehrman, Pankaj Monga, and Nate Kaeding.

ISA Ventures’ affiliation with NewBoCo will allow entrepreneurs to take advantage of Iowa Startup Accelerator’s educational programs, coaching, and mentoring; hire technical and digital marketing talent from DeltaV Code School; receive office space in Vault Coworking; and leverage NewBoCo’s prototyping labs.

“Many of our region’s fastest-growing companies struggle as they emerge from ‘startup mode’ and aim for profitability,” said Greif. “The combination of capital from ISA Ventures and NewBoCo’s programs allow us to help companies grow at all stages of their lifecycle.”

Investors so far include more than 70 local individuals, as well as institutional investors such as Alliant Energy, GreenState Credit Union, and UFG Insurance.

As one of only two Iowa Innovation Funds in the state, ISAV will invest solely in Iowa-based companies, qualifying the fund’s investors for significant tax advantages.

Previous coverage

NewBoCo announces big plans at inaugural Annual Meeting -Sept. 20, 2019