Iowa Startup Accelerator

We are focused on tech companies. You need to have a business that addresses a marketplace problem big enough, and with a solution scalable enough, to grow dramatically. Therefore, we will not admit service-only businesses, consultancies, restaurants, locally-oriented companies and the like.

No. We’re pretty flexible regarding how old your company needs to be. We have a program for startups from pre-revenue companies to companies with $1 million in revenue.

You can’t accelerate a team of one. There’s too much to get accomplished for solo teams to work out. Teams should ideally be made up of 2-5 individuals with a balanced variety of skills who have worked together in some capacity before. For next stage teams, this number can be higher.

For the first three months, expect to spend (at least) every Friday in Cedar Rapids. For the following nine months, it’ll shift to once every two weeks.

You can work in our space all day, every day, and we firmly recommend that you do so, as much as possible. When you’re here, you get daily support from our staff, access to all of the workshops and speakers, and you build stronger bonds with your cohort peers from all three overlapping groups. Being physically present in one of the most dynamic places in Eastern Iowa creates opportunities for serendipitous, game-changing conversations – you never know who’s going to be in the building!

In general, we prefer founders willing to commit to being in Cedar Rapids most or all of the time, but we recognize that doesn’t work for everyone (perhaps you live somewhere else in Iowa and can’t leave for family reasons).

While we only require the CEO to attend each Friday, we strongly recommend all team members attend – you’ll get the most from the program this way.

We’re looking for companies with a strong connection to Iowa, and you’re certainly welcome (and will be encouraged!) to stay. But it’s your business; you can put it wherever you’d like.

Wherever you’d like (as long as you’re here on Friday) – we’ll help you find available housing in the area if you need it.

Absolutely, but we only shoot team members with a foam ball gun during the 100+ times you’re practicing your pitch. If you can’t handle a little foam ball to the face, why do you think you can handle an investor’s barrage of questions or pitch on stage in front of a thousand people?

Yes – providing they have a strong connection to Iowa, we’ll consider teams from anywhere. You have to be able to be here legally for the duration of the program.

It depends. Most accepted companies will receive $20,000 in exchange for 6% equity in their business, but later stage companies (actively selling their product in significant quantities) may be able to negotiate both the capital and investment amounts.

There are three types of additional funding.

  1. First, some teams may qualify for additional funding from the accelerator’s seed fund once they reach certain milestones.
  2. Secondly, the ISA is tightly aligned with several programs in Iowa that you may qualify for, total up to $225,000.
  3. Finally, the program will introduce you to outside funding opportunities from other investors, local, regional, and from around the country, during and after the program.

The $20,000 is cash to be spent. However, you wish to build your business. Most of the services provided by the accelerator are free or discounted heavily, including legal, financial, and other advice.

For some startups, we may work with you to provide technical services (software or hardware prototyping) at a heavily discounted rate that’s negotiated as part of your entry into the program.

There are some fees you may need to pay for, such as filing fees to third parties, but we’ve tried to minimize those, so your $20,000 goes as far as possible.

We have the ability to provide selected teams with additional financing directly from the accelerator program’s seed fund, most likely in the form of convertible debt. Each of these will be negotiated separately.

The funding from the accelerator is only the beginning. You’ll have access to numerous angel and venture capital investors during the program, as speakers, mentors, and advisors. And the Launch Day at the end of the program will bring together the region’s top investors to hear your pitch and make connections to appropriate potential investment partners. We have every incentive to work with you to find whatever capital is necessary to get your business rolling.

Contact us via our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.