“It’s been about a year since I’ve been capturing the Startup Iowa Hotlist showing those actively raising companies and just companies to watch, and that subscriber list has grown. Maybe 30% of the list is out-of-state subscribers. For instance, Idea Fund just came to Des Moines. It’s based in La Crosse, Wis., and they’re now actively looking at Iowa deals, and they’ve actually grown their geographical footprint of investment to have Iowa included. I think that’s a big win even though we can’t say we had a huge hand in that. But they saw there’s deal flow in Iowa.

“I think that we can see it both from the syndication of national and more regional groups just participating and looking at Iowa deals, but then also I do think it does help to have more funds based in Iowa. They don’t have to be an only-Iowa fund like InnoVenture or how ISA Ventures was built. We do know that we need more lead investors, and that is still just a really difficult road. It’s not necessarily angel investors, they’re not usually going to be your leads … so it’s helping our startups navigate how do they find leads that will set all these terms and right now a lot of times that’s happening out of state or within their industry. We do have industry funds that are leads, so it’s just trying to grow that scene and see that maturity happen, even with more of our institutional funding,” said Diana Wright, startup community builder, Greater Des Moines Partnership.