The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board recently approved innovation funding in support of six startups. The companies are located in Ames, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Fairfield, Iowa City and North Liberty.
Ames’ Rise Energy is commercializing a modular system that can deploy technology for industrial processors to generate value converting their existing biomass feedstocks into renewable fuels, chemicals and products. The modules provide a convenient solution for utilizing biomass to create upgradeable liquids, which can be used in production of sustainable aviation fuels, renewable fuels, asphalt binders and other products, and biochar, which is used to sequester carbon. The company was awarded a $50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan for IP development and evaluation, market and competitive analysis, market planning and entry activities, and key personnel.
Based in Cedar Falls, PicklePlay is a digital platform that offers a comprehensive pickleball resource. The software can help users easily find pickleball courts and events, engage with players and groups, and organize their play schedule. The company was awarded a $50,000 POCR loan for IP development and evaluation, market planning and entry activities and key personnel.
Tumbleweed in Des Moines is a technology platform that supports end-of-life and post-loss planning. Their software provides individuals, families, executors and trustees with an affordable and time-efficient solution that helps users navigate the intricacies of end-of-life planning or following a death. The company was awarded a $50,000 POCR loan for IP development and evaluation, market and competitive analysis, proof of concept work, product refinement, market planning and entry activities, key personnel, and equipment.
MedTech startup Spanton Board, Inc., located in Fairfield, created the first, patent-pending, power-driven spine board to effectively safeguard athletes following a serious injury. Eventually, Spanton Board plans to expand from the pro sports market to military and emergency medical services. The product operates like a conveyer belt and enables the transfer of individuals to a backboard, significantly reducing movement compared to a traditional board. The company was awarded a $100,000 Demonstration Fund loan for product refinement, market planning and entry activities, and key personnel.
Iowa City-based Inseer, Inc. leverages a proprietary AI computer vision system to enhance workplace safety, improve ergonomics and boost productivity in manufacturing environments. Through a short video that captures and analyzes movement data, employees can quickly receive risk assessment solutions and objectively offer any safety corrections. The company was awarded a $250,000 Innovation Acceleration Launch Fund loan for IP development and evaluation.
UpStream, headquartered in North Liberty, launched technology to facilitate remote source water monitoring. The platform, the Outfall SmartCell, is a fully automated system able to withstand all environments for uninterrupted 24/7 communication and data delivery for water quality detection. The company was awarded a $50,000 POCR loan for IP development and evaluation, proof of concept work and product refinement.
Award recommendations for these funds are made by the Technology Commercialization Committee to the IEDA Board for approval.