2014 Iowa Fundraising Roundup

Looking back at 2014, it was a pretty special year for those seeking investment in the Iowa innovation community. According to my research(1), at least $146,677,300 was raised by 20 Iowa companies. That's the sum total amount that was reported in the news or announced publicly (not including pitch contest winnings, grants, IEDA funding or similar). For a full list of companies and amounts raised, click here.

Breaking down the data

$110MM of the funds were raised by two companies, KemPharm (Coralville) and Involta (Cedar Rapids). Their industries (pharmaceutical and data centers, respectively) are both a bit outside of what we typical discuss on this site and require a large amount of capital to build so they're somewhat outliers in the data. The remaining ~$37MM is spread across 18 scalable startup companies.

13 Iowa companies had raises of $1MM or more in 2014. Seven companies had multiple raises. Higher Learning Technologies (Coralville) had multiple raises of $1MM or more.

Ten of the companies raising money are located in the Creative Corridor (Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and surrounding). They raised a collective $119.7MM ($9.6MM by startups). Eight of the companies are in the Des Moines-area. They raised $17.2MM (all startups). The other two companies are Punctil (Batavia) who raised $270,000 and HowFactory (Cedar Falls) who raised $70,000.

Seven of the companies (Bawte, Fanstreamm, HowFactory, Men's Style Lab, Punctil, Re-APP and VenueFox)(2) participated in startup accelerators who are responsible for some or all of their funding. These companies raised a collective $2.47MM.(3)

Outside of KemPharm ($60MM) and Involta ($50MM), the largest raise was by Dwolla (Des Moines) with $9.7MM followed by Higher Learning Technologies with $6.5MM and BirdDog HR (Urbandale) with $4MM.

By Quarter

Looking at the data chronologically (based on date announced, not necessarily date of raise) the frequency of investments increased dramatically in the second half of the year.

  • Quarter 1 — 3 raises totaling $2,070,000
  • Quarter 2 — 2 raises totaling $60,015,000 ($60MM by KemPharm)
  • Quarter 3 — 8 raises totaling $57,698,000 ($50MM by Involta)
  • Quarter 4 — 13 raises totaling $26,894,300

Other notable investment news from 2014

In March, Banno (Cedar Falls) was acquired by Jack Henry & Associates. The details were not announced but in May, Finovate reported that JHA showed a $28MM cash expense for the acquisition in their SEC filings.

Workiva (Ames) raised $100.8MM via IPO in December.

Header Photo Credit:Thomas Hawk on Flickr.

Footnotes —

(1) Going back through each Welch Avenue Weekly for 2014 (you should subscribe!). (2) I counted four of the ten Iowa Startup Accelerator companies as "Iowa startups" since they've announced the intention to stay here (HowFactory, Punctil, Re-APP and VenueFox). The other six companies are not included. (3) Built by Iowa announced a $50,000 investment to be spread across seven of the ISA companies but actual terms weren't disclosed, I estimated that at $7,150 each for Re-APP and VenueFox.