The Iowa Economic Development Authority awards funding to startups in the form of low-interest loans through its Innovation Continuum, which includes five funds that are designed to offer companies non-dilutive funding at every stage of business growth. The funds are: Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR), Demonstration Fund and the Innovation Acceleration Fund, which offers Launch, Propel and Innovation Expansion awards.

These financing options are geared toward companies operating in the fields of advanced manufacturing, biosciences or information technology. Each fund in the continuum also requires the company to supply matching funds, which could come from family and friends funding, outside investors or federal funding programs like the Small Business Innovation Research program.

Starting this year, IEDA has provided additional funding through the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). Iowa received $96 million from SSBCI, and $22 million was allocated to increasing the amount of funding available through each of IEDA’s innovation funds. For example, before the SSBCI funding, companies could receive a POCR loan of up to $25,000; now POCR loans of up to $50,000 are available.

After the application process, which includes an interview with a panel of experts in the industry the company operates in, companies present to the IEDA Technology Commercialization Committee (TCC). The TCC then makes recommendations to the IEDA board for final approval of awards.

The SSBCI Review Committee also reviews and scores applications and makes recommendations to the executive director of IEDA for final approval of awards that are funded through the SSBCI allocation. Both committees meet every two months.

Below are the startups and organizations that received funding through IEDA programs in the third quarter of 2023.

IEDA Innovation Fund

Coltie Inc. – Ames: $50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance loan. Coltie is a social network and mobile app created to equitably pair prospective students with faculty in graduate programs. Using AI, the app considers factors that contribute to student success combined with faculty performance ratings from their companion website to connect both parties.

Janas Materials Inc. – Ames: 
$100,000 Demonstration Fund loan. Janas Materials develops sustainable technology for the coating industry that improves the appearance and application of wood stains.

Primary Assembly – Cedar Rapids: 
$50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance loan. Primary Assembly developed software that processes real-time brain wave data and transforms it into music. The neurotherapy industry is testing it for effective trauma integration and healing for PTSD patients.

Mod Advisor Inc. – Denison: 
$100,000 Demonstration Fund loan. Mod Advisor automates the process of performing workers’ compensation experience mod analysis.

GW Nutrition Inc. – Slater: 
$50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance loan. GW Nutrition developed the patent pending CleanSense technology to improve the acceptance of food ingredients. It uses a proprietary light delivery system to reduce microbial contamination while also moderating the sensory characteristics (i.e., color, flavor and odor) of alternative proteins.

GeoVention Inc. – Ames: 
$50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance loan. GeoVention designs products for the HVAC industry. Its three primary proprietary products address issues and costs with residential geothermal and air-to-air heat pump system installation.

Salin 247 Inc. – Ames: 
$50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance loan. The company developed a platform for small-scale, lightweight, autonomous farm machinery for growing crops.

State Small Business Credit Initiative

VIDA Diagnostics Inc. – Coralville: $1 million Innovation Acceleration Expansion Fund loan. VIDA Diagnostics’ clinical imaging intelligence platform manages all aspects of trial imaging and powers its comprehensive digital biomarker solutions that accelerate the approval and adoption of lifesaving treatments.

ClinicNote – Urbandale: 
$250,000 Innovation Acceleration Launch Fund loan. ClinicNote provides clinic management software for 96 universities, with plans to expand further into the private sector.

Mach Acquisition Inc. – West Des Moines: 
$1 million Innovation Acceleration Expansion Fund loan. Through the merger and expertise of Redshield Electronics and LSA Autonomy, Mach Acquisition Inc. was established to develop vehicle automation software and hardware for manufacturers.

Past coverage: 
Funding recap: IEDA awards $4.3M to startups, service providers in Q2