Iowa Startup Accelerator
Portfolio & Results

Portfolio Overview | Lifecycle StageFunding | Company Details

Portfolio Companies
Million in Funding Raised
Teams in the 2016 Cohort

Overall Portfolio Status

 Updated 02/17/17

Status Number of Companies Percentage
Active 21 87.5%
Failed 3 12.5%
Acquired/Exited 0 0%
Total 24 100%

Notes about portfolio status:
Because the ISA program is young (the first cohort started 8/4/2014) the number of active companies is very high.
Of course, we’d love to have the number of active companies stay high, and we do everything we can to help our founders build their companies. Despite our reputation here of being “Iowa nice”, a key part of our role is to accelerate world-changing ideas and ensure that dead-end ideas fail fast. Those founders could then start another company, battle-tested and wiser, the second time around.

Lifecycle Stage

 Updated 01/05/17

Bars represent progress for each company. Please note this is the lifecycle stage this company is at, not a measure of the company’s quality or worth. Some businesses move faster than others; some are easier to build or are built more quickly than others.

* Failed      ** Did not complete program

  • Interviewing 100+ customers to truly understand their pain to be resolved and the current market dynamics
  • Validate market size is large enough to be worth addressing the problem
  • You can construct testable hypotheses to use for validation
  • You have a data collection mechanism to track your research over time
  • You have a core team with existing leadership skills
  • A complete and validated Business Model Canvas
  • Solid understanding of market position and dynamics
  • Realistic competitive matrix
  • Smoke and mirrors tests / low-fidelity prototype validates marketplace need
  • Financial model exists; breakeven and capital needs understood
  • Ensuring the product is technologically possible to build
  • Intellectual property status understood and protected where possible
  • Technical capability exists within the founding team
  • Gaps in management team identified
  • A high-fidelity, working prototype demonstrates your primary value proposition for customers
  • You can demonstrate the value proposition to your prospective customers and confirm it resolves their problem
  • Well-developed financial model exists, vetted and understood
  • You’re able to sell your value proposition to customers
  • Generating revenue from your primary value proposition
  • Beta or early adopter customers providing feedback
  • Well-understood Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Your team is well-rounded, with sufficient leadership, financial, sales, and marketing capabilities to build a company
  • The market is actively pulling your product from you
  • Monthly Revenue Growth of 10-15%
  • On track to reach $100k annual revenue run rate ($8,333/mo) within 90 days
  • Sell your product for more than it costs to produce it
  • A credible plan to scale revenues by at least 3-5x in a year
  • A vetted capital resources strategy
  • Demonstrated stakeholder and customer communication patterns
  • Repeatable, measurable metrics weekly and monthly; maps directly to solid financial statements
  • Repeatable and predictable sales using known funnel analytics
  • Marketing tools and systems in place
  • Rapid sales growth on track to reach $1 million annual revenue run rate ($83,333/mo) in the next year
  • Talent acquisition strategy exists, especially to fill key gaps
  • Strong leadership patterns demonstrated
  • Company culture approach defined


Notes about funding:
Funding in the Midwest is different than on the coasts. Each dollar raised goes a lot further due to a lower cost of living (Cedar Rapids, for example, is often cited as a highly affordable small city.)

Midwestern startups also tend to focus on bootstrapping for longer periods of time before raising capital, whenever possible. Often, investors prefer startups to demonstrate positive revenue growth before investing as well, as they tend to be more conservative and risk-averse. We see this as a good compromise overall: startups have to work hard to actually produce a product people will buy before they raise money.

In addition, when outside capital is raised, the funding mix is different, with many startups raising money through a variety of programs designed to support them, such as the Proof of Commercial Relevance program, the Demonstration Fund, and the Innovation Acceleration program. Often, startups with positive revenue growth also qualify for attractive debt financing that prevents dilution for the entrepreneur.

In short, Iowa is a fantastic place to grow a business, and high quality startups can successfully raise money here to support growth and scale.

Company Details

2014 Cohort

Company (Original Location) Funding Status Current Location FTES*
ClikHome (New York, NY) $220,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 2
HowFactory (Cedar Falls, IA) $260,000 Active Cedar Falls, IA 4
KidsCalendar (Lawrence, KS) $65,000 Active Lincoln, NE 1
LendEDU (Hockessin, DE) $820,000 Active Hockessin, DE 6
ProduceRun (Melbourne, Australia) $70,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 2
Punctil (Palo Alto, CA) $320,000 Active Fairfield, IA 1
Sift (Iowa City, IA) $65,000 Active Iowa City, IA 1
SwarmBuild (Tel Aviv, Israel) $20,000 Failed Tel Aviv, Israel 0
VenueFox (Des Moines, IA) $40,000 Failed Des Moines, IA 2
Vinveli (Austin, TX) $40,000 Active Austin, TX 1
  $1,920,000     20

* Full Time Employees, including founders

Notes about the 2014 Cohort

Our inaugural cohort in 2014 consisted of 10 teams from around the world. Most were very early stage, pre-revenue startups when they arrived. All of them adjusted business models during the program. Going into 2017, we expect to see at least one company exceed $3M in revenue and we are proud that 8 of the 10 companies are still active. This far exceed the 94% failure rate that startups typically see.

2015 Cohort

Company (Original Location) Funding Status Current Location FTES*
CareAcademy (Boston, MA) $485,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 3
CareDrop (Cedar Rapids, IA) $1,010,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 2
EarMashin (Los Angeles, CA) $20,000 Active Los Angeles, CA 2
GolfRz (Des Moines, IA) $165,000 Active Des Moines, IA 2
Goquets (Des Moines, IA) $20,000 Active Des Moines, IA 3
HomeScenePro (New York City, NY) $20,000 Failed New York City, NY 2
Stratbase (Iowa City, IA) $20,000 Active Iowa City, IA 1
SwineTech (New Sharon, IA) $185,000 Active New Sharon, IA 3
TaxiTapp (Champaign, IL) $51,000 Active Champaign, IL 2
  $1,976,000     20

* Full Time Employees, including founders

Notes about the 2015 Cohort
Just a little over a year has past since the 2015 Cohort graduated from ISA and 3 of the 9 teams have raised over $150,000. 8 of the 9 teams are still active. SwineTech has won numerous pitch and business plan competitions while field testing their product.

2016 Cohort

Company (Original Location) Funding Status Current Location FTES*
AssetRover (Cedar Rapids, IA) $45,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 2
Girls With Ideas (Cedar Rapids, IA) $26,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 2
Hang (Des Moines, IA) $20,000 Active Des Moines, IA 2
Soteria Bicycles (Cedar Rapids, IA) $220,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 4
Streamweaver (Des Moines, IA) $20,000 Active Des Moines, IA 2
Written Apparel (Cedar Rapids, IA) $20,000 Active Cedar Rapids, IA 1
  $351,000     12

* Full Time Employees, including founders

Notes about the 2016 Cohort
We started the cohort with 3 of the 6 teams being led by female founders. Today, 4 of the 6 are led by women. Over half of the teams are generating revenue and we continue to work with all of the teams post program as part of our commitment to helping these companies thrive in Iowa and scale their companies.