Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund

The Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund promotes the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of technology into competitive, profitable companies that create high paying jobs. The funds are designed to support commercializing research, launching new start-ups and accelerating private investment and industrial expansion efforts that result in significant capital investment.

The fund provides financing to eligible businesses through three program components that correspond to three different stages of growth for investment-grade, high-growth enterprises:

Iowa LAUNCH [PDF] — for pre-seed capital stage financing

The Iowa LAUNCH program is designed to help innovative entrepreneurs overcome the principal challenges of launching new start-ups that leverage discoveries and talent at Iowa's world-class public and private research universities and other research organizations. This pre-seed funding will be awarded to entrepreneurs for intellectual property development and evaluation, including in-depth analysis of market potential, conducting competitive analysis, establishing proof of concept of a scientific discovery, prototype design and development, and related activities.

Funding Available: The request for financial support should be specifically and narrowly tailored to the plan outlined in the application, but individual awards will not exceed $100,000 or 50% of the project costs. Accordingly, it is not anticipated that each applicant will request the maximum amount of funds that may be awarded under this program. Awards will be in the form of low-interest loans or royalty agreements.

Iowa PROPEL [PDF] — for seed capital stage financing

Iowa PROPEL, a seed capital co-investment program, is designed to accelerate private investment in Iowa-based start-up companies and to increase the overall investment impact. Through this program, Iowa will award seed capital funds that match qualified private capital investments. The seed capital may be used by the start-up company for advanced intellectual property development and evaluation, including in-depth analysis of market potential, conducting competitive analysis, advanced proof of concept work for a scientific discovery, advanced prototype design and development, research and development needed to attract venture capital financing, hiring key personnel, and related activities.

Funding Available: The request for financial support should be specifically and narrowly tailored to the plan outlined in the application. Individual awards shall not exceed $300,000 or 50% of the project costs. Awards will be in the form of low-interest loans or royalty agreements.

Iowa INNOVATION EXPANSION [PDF] — for expansion-stage financing

The Innovation Expansion program is designed to encourage expansion of product lines in existing companies through product refinement, market planning and market entry activities for unique innovative products to support competitive, profitable companies that create high paying jobs and wealth in Iowa. Through this program, Iowa makes investments that can be used to hire key personnel and services and the purchase of equipment and facilitate construction costs.

Funding Available: The request for financial support should be specifically and narrowly tailored to the plan outlined in the application but individual awards will not exceed $500,000 or 50% of the total project cost. Accordingly, it is not expected that each applicant will request the maximum amount of funds that may be awarded under this program. Awards are typically in the form of a secured, low-interest loan.

Matching Requirement:

Each one dollar ($1) of requested funds from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund must be matched by a minimum of one dollar ($1) of private funds. The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board will consider the amount of private moneys leveraged in excess of the minimum matching amount and award financial assistance to those projects that most efficiently leverage the amount of moneys available in the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund.

How to Apply:

  • An eligible business must submit an Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund application for financial assistance to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), 200 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. Funding decisions are made on a bi-monthly basis through a competitive application process.
  • The IEDA has engaged the services of VentureNet Iowa to review and manage the application process. This process includes a presentation to an Expert Review Panel for evaluation and feedback and a presentation to the Technology Commercialization Committee (TCC). The TCC recommendations are submitted to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board who will make the final funding decision.

Sample Contracts:

To learn more:

Phone: 515.471.1965 or 515.471.1300
E-mail: innovation@iowa.gov