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Investing in Iowa: Q3 2021

Investing in Iowa is a quarterly review of all investments made into early-stage companies in Iowa. The series is sponsored by ISA Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in Iowa-based companies.

Iowa startups raised more than $65 million in Q3 of 2021. Since the beginning of 2018, Iowa startups have now raised a total of more than $420 million.

The following is a list of all known investments raised by Iowa companies in Q3 of 2021.

CompaniesLocationAmount RaisedDate
Dryland GeneticsDes Moines$3,800,00008-05-21
DwollaDes Moines$21,000,00007-21-21
Farmer RiskAmes$50,00007-30-21
Gross-Wen TechnologiesAmes$6,500,00008-10-21
PVpalletCedar Rapids$1,000,00008-10-21
RoboflowDes Moines$20,524,71709-16-21
SevelynDes Moines$20,00007-29-21
Steel TherapeuticsIowa CityUndisclosed09-16-21
StratafolioCedar Rapids$1,177,60609-23-21


Through the first three quarters of 2021, Iowa startups have raised just under $110 million.

Multiple $20M+ Rounds

Two Des Moines companies raised rounds of $20 million or more this quarter.

Dwolla announced in July that it had raised $21 million in funding to continue to build out its strategic roadmap and to expand to markets outside of the U.S. The round was led by Foundry Group. Additional investors were Park West Asset Management LLC, Union Square Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, Firebrand Ventures, and Next Level Ventures. To date, Dwolla has raised more than $70 million in capital. 

Des Moines computer vision company Roboflow announced in September that it had raised a $20 million Series A led by Craft Ventures. Additional investors named include Lachy Groom, Jack Altman, DJ Patil, Max and Sam Altman, Cassidy Williams, Harry Hurst, Greg Brockman and Mike Maples. The Series A round came less than a year after Roboflow raised a $2.1 million seed round in January.

Lots of acquisitions and exits

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 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.

Investing in Iowa: Q3 2021 | 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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