2018 Leaders Survey: Venture capital in central Iowa

In the seventh year of the Business Record’s annual Leaders Survey, the Business Record asked local leaders whether they believe Central Iowa businesses had adequate access to venture capital. It’s a snapshot of our wider concerns – the survey, released in print and in daily e-newsletter snapshots, checks the pulse on some of Des Moines’ largest concerns through the eyes of its business leaders. View the 2018 Leaders Survey online or pick up a print edition of the Nov. 30 cover story at Business Publications Corporation, 100 4th Street, Des Moines.

Agree or disagree: There is adequate venture capital available in Central Iowa.

Agree 32.38%

Disagree 26.67%

I’m not sure. 40.95%

Chris Sackett, managing partner, BrownWinick Law Firm

Disagree. I practice extensively in this, and there is absolutely not enough access to venture capital. The current groups in Iowa are truly outstanding, but every deal is not right for every fund. More choices means more good deals get funded (and adequately funded), and more companies succeed. We also need more education and understanding of what venture capital is and is not, and more support for the overall ecosystem.

Amber Bryant, account manager, Lessing-Flynn

Disagree. If there was more, then entrepreneurs would be abundant and we’d see the talent pool grow.

Mike Ralston, president, Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Agree. Others will disagree and more VC is required. For now, the most-deserving projects seem to be finding the funding they need.

Jim Plagge, president and CEO, Bank Iowa

Agree. Venture capital is far from the only option for a thriving entrepreneurial segment. Community banks offer a workable alternative that in many ways offers a more balanced contribution of funding and leadership guidance.

Joseph Benesh, president and CEO, Ingenuity Co.

Disagree. I do not see any traditional venture capital in Central Iowa; what I see labeled as venture capitalism seems more closely aligned with investment banking, which, in my opinion, is more healthy than traditional venture capitalism models.