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NewBoCo, ISA Ventures expand services to Quad Cities

New funding and resources for entrepreneurs and startups are coming to the Quad Cities as NewBoCo announced this week plans to expand its services to the Quad Cities area.

“Our nonprofit has learned a thing or two over the past eight years as we’ve collaborated with partners to build and run accelerators, investor groups, K-12 computer science programs, adult tech education programs, innovation workshops, entrepreneurial events and more. All of these things work together, as a unique and aggressive economic development strategy,” said Aaron Horn, Executive Director at NewBoCo in a release. “The needs of each region are unique, so it’s critical that we partner with a great local resource like the Quad Cities Chamber to bring new opportunities to the area.”

In a Clay & Milk guest post earlier this year, Horn wrote that NewBoCo plans to strategically align with at least four community partners—including Quad Cities, Mason City, and Mount Pleasant—across Iowa in 2022 to pilot the launch of key programs in their communities.

ISA Ventures, the first multi-stage venture capital studio in Iowa, also plans to expand into the QC region by building a local syndicate network of investors to support regional entrepreneurs on both sides of the river.

Once funded, businesses will participate in the Iowa Startup Accelerator, which provides instruction, mentoring and guidance to help the entrepreneur establish a foundation for scalability or expansion in industries such as ag, health, education, manufacturing and transportation. Participating startups also benefit from access to NewBoCo’s support including marketing and design services, software development, web design, social media support, innovation workshops, copywriting, and public relations consultation.

As part of the expansion, Kiva Iowa will also expand to include the Illinois Quad Cities, giving entrepreneurs access to a crowdfunded micro-lending platform that offers business loans with zero percent interest and zero fees.

“We are excited NewBoCo and ISA Ventures are expanding to serve our bi-state region,” said Julie Forsythe, the Chamber’s Sr. Vice President of Business and Economic Growth. “Venture capital and support for startups have been identified as needs in the QC and we are excited they will be able to fill that gap by providing funding and resources for entrepreneurs here. The Quad Cities Chamber has been in discussions with NewBoCo and ISA Ventures for the last year to help boost our local angel investment network and assist startups in the region.”

Local accredited investors are needed to launch the syndicate network. Syndicate investors are able to invest in tech-based startups throughout the QC and beyond. To learn more, visit or contact Kevin Bradley, ISA Ventures’ Director of Investor Relations at

Startups looking to learn more about the resources available should contact Iowa Startup Accelerator Managing Director Alex Taylor at or visit 

Previous coverage

Aaron Horn’s 2022 Forecast for NewBoCo

NewBoCo partners with California startup ‘Kiva’ to launch statewide microlending platform

NewBoCo, ISA Ventures expand services to Quad Cities | 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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