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Investing in Iowa: Q1-Q3 2020

The following is a list of all known investments raised by Iowa companies through the first three quarters of 2020. In total, Iowa-based companies raised just over $109 million through the first three quarters of 2020.

Here is a list of Iowa companies that have raised investment money so far this year:


CompanyLocationAmount RaisedDate
FBB BiomedCoralville$75,00003-20-20
LenderCloseWest Des Moines$1,000,00002-18-20
MakuSafeWest Des Moines$1,500,00001-07-20
Sigma0 (formerly DroneSAR)Des Moines$100,00003-09-20
Skroot LabrotoryAmes$25,00002-10-20
Vida DiagnosticsCoralville$11,000,00003-12-20


CompanyLocationAmount RaisedDate
Digital Diagnostics (formerly IDx)Coralville$12,500,00006-17-20
Farmhand AppDeWitt$25,00006-30-20
Haber TechnologiesAmes$50,00004-22-20
Handrail, Inc.Coralville$1,000,00004-22-20
SwineTechCedar Rapids$5,000,00004-07-20
VIDA DiagnosticsCoralville$2,000,00004-16-20


CompanyLocationAmount RaisedDate
deetzCedar Rapids$20,00009-08-20
DhakaiCedar Falls$20,00009-08-20
Gross-Wen TechnologiesSlater$2,350,00008-13-20
Growers EdgeJohnston$40,000,00007-11-20
Haber TechnologiesAmes$1,300,00007-20-20
MakuSafeWest Des Moines$4,000,00007-08-20
MSUITECedar Rapids$4,000,00008-21-20
Moov FinancialCedar Falls$5,500,00008-18-20
OpenLoop (previously Apollo)Iowa City$20,00009-08-20
PitchlyDes Moines$2,500,00008-13-20
RoboflowDes Moines$125,00008-25-20


Investments are way up from 2019

Investments from the first three quarters of 2020 have already more than doubled the total amount raised in 2019.

Despite any market volatility caused by COVID-19, funding for startups has remained unscathed. In fact, Q3 saw more than $70 in capital raised, by far the largest quarter we’ve seen since we began tracking investments in 2018.

Investment rounds continue to grow in size

16 of the 23 of the investment rounds (70%) raised so far in 2020 have been for more than $1 million. That number is significantly up from 2019 (42%) and 2018 (54%).

4 rounds over $10 million have been raised so far this year.

Agtech and medtech companies continue to dominate

Agtech companies in central Iowa

Unsurprisingly, agtech companies continue to make up a large chunk of the companies that raise capital in Central Iowa. Growers Edge in Johnston closed a $40 Million Series B round in July. This is the largest investment round of 2020 so far.

Ag Startup Engine made several seed investments in Ames-based agtech startups including Haber Technologies, Skroot Laboratory, and Sentinel. To date, Ag Startup Engine has invested in fourteen different ag startups located in Iowa.

Medtech companies in Coralville

Many of the companies that raised investments in Coralville continue to be in the healthcare and medical industry. Vida Diagnostics in Coralville raised an $11 million round in Q1 followed by a $2 million round in Q3. Digital Diagnostics raised a $12.5 million round, which comes just two years after raising a $33 million round in 2018.

A new $15 million fund for Iowa companies

ISA Ventures, a new venture capital fund connected to Iowa Startup Accelerator, reached its first close of $15 million with plans to begin investing in Iowa-based companies.

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.

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.

If you are interested in sponsoring the Investing in Iowa series, please contact Managing Editor Jake Slobe at for additional information.

Investing in Iowa: Q1-Q3 2020 | 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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