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Three startups join Iowa Startup Accelerator’s spring cohort

The Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA) in Cedar Rapids has accepted three startups — Haggle, Groov, and Sprayer Mods — into the Spring 2022 cohort of the program.

“These three exciting startups introduce unique technologies that will transform and upgrade their respective industries”, said Alex Taylor, managing director of ISA. “Additionally these early stage businesses qualify for investment funding from ISA Ventures.”

Groov (Clive, IA) offers an innovative SaaS solution for property developers to organize and facilitate land development and sales. 

Haggle (LeClaire, IA) has developed a unique online marketplace for farmers to barter the use and services of idle equipment with other farmers. 

Sprayer Mods (Iowa City, IA) has developed a patent-pending camera attachment for agricultural applicators to reduce the use of expensive and potentially hazardous chemicals. 

ISA is a unique 6-month accelerator with rolling admission and access to four distinct stages of investment for Iowa-based startup businesses. The first three months of ISA programming are dedicated to reducing potential risks, establishing efficient and repeatable best practices, identifying sales and marketing channels, and generating early-stage revenue. The second three months are dedicated to accelerating revenue growth, planning for business expansion, and preparing founders for raising additional venture capital. 

“These exceptional founders join our community of 70+ companies we’ve invested in over the past eight years. They’re building and growing innovative new technology businesses right here in Iowa”, said Eric Engelmann, General Partner at ISA Ventures. 

Each of these startups, along with the three startups from the Fall 2021 cohort, will be featured in a Launch Day event that kicks off EntreFest on June 8, in Iowa City.

Three startups join Iowa Startup Accelerator's spring cohort | 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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