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BOARD ACTION: Economic Development Board approves awards to support over $83 million in capital investments in Iowa

For more information contact:

Ms. Kanan Kappelman, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Phone: 515.725.3154
kanan.kappelman@iowa.gov


Economic Development Board approves awards to support over $83 million in capital investments in Iowa

November 18, 2016 (DES MOINES, IA) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to six companies for job creation and expansion projects. These awards will assist in the creation of 108 jobs, retention of eight jobs and will result in over $83 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved innovation funding for nine startups.
 
The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Adams County, Woodbury County, Mt. Pleasant, Altoona, Sioux City, West Des Moines, Johnston, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Ottumwa, Ankeny, Ames and Panora.
 
Additionally, the board approved tax credit awards under the Innovation Fund Investment Tax Credit program to four applicants. The program was created to encourage seed capital investment in innovative Iowa businesses. Through a certified Innovation Fund, Next Level Ventures Fund I, LLLP, five investors collectively invested $475,348 in Iowa companies and through the Innovation Fund Investment Tax Credit program will receive tax credits equaling 25 percent of the investor’s equity investment in the certified Innovation Fund or $118,837. In FY17, $8 million is allocated to the program.
 
Newly-formed Aero Technologies to build manufacturing facility in Adams County
Aero Technologies is a newly-formed company that will serve as a design and manufacturing resource for the RG Hanson sales group.  The company will specialize in manufacturing technical, niche, heavy duty industrial cleaning equipment and products and is planning to build its facility in the Blue Grass Industrial Park located in Adams County.  The board awarded Aero Technologies $225,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs program (HQJP) for this $1.1 million capital investment.  The project is expected to create 25 jobs at a qualifying hourly wage of $18.88.

GELITA to construct new manufacturing plant in Woodbury County
GELITA USA, Inc., produces gelatine and related process by-products at its Sergeant Bluff location.  The company is planning to construct a new manufacturing plant in Woodbury County dedicated to the production of collagen peptides, which can be produced from the same raw material as gelatine.   The board awarded GELITA $105,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits from HQJP. The project represents a $22 million capital investment and is expected to create 21 jobs at a qualifying hourly wage of $20.17.

World’s largest manufacturer and distributor of fireplaces, stoves to expand in Mt. Pleasant
Hearth & Home Technologies, LLC (HHT) is a division of HNI Corporation, which is headquartered in Muscatine.  HHT is the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of fireplaces, stoves and hearth related products. HHT is transitioning production lines from its Kentucky facility to its existing distribution center in Mt. Pleasant.  The board awarded the company tax benefits via HQJP for this $7.7 million capital investment.  The project, comprised of adding building infrastructure, is set to create 28 jobs, of which six are incented at a qualifying hourly wage of $16.04.

Altoona’s Iowa Cold Storage to expand in order to meet increased demand
Iowa Cold Storage, LLC is a public refrigerated warehouse which opened in Altoona in December 2004.   Due to increased demand, the company is planning an addition to their existing facility.   The board awarded Iowa Cold Storage tax benefits through HQJP for this $14.5 million capital investment, which is expected to create one job at a qualifying hourly wage of $27.92.

Rocklin Manufacturing plans renovation project in Sioux City
Rocklin Manufacturing Company is an established manufacturer of industrial electronic equipment located in Sioux City.  The proposed project includes removing the company’s unusable buildings and renovating the remaining one to meet current operational needs and accommodate future growth.  These plans represent a capital investment of $1.4 million and is expected to retain eight jobs. The board awarded Rocklin tax benefits via HQJP based on exceeding a qualifying hourly wage of $20.17. Additionally, the company received tax benefits through the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit program based on exceeding a qualifying hourly wage of $18.72.

Insurance company IMT Group to establish home office in West Des Moines
The IMT Group is a regional property and casualty Insurance company and writes all personal, commercial and bonds insurance products in the upper Midwest using independent agents. Due to past and projected growth and an increased workforce, the company is planning to build a home office in West Des Moines.  The company was awarded tax benefits through HQJP. This $36 million capital investment is expected to create 33 jobs, of which 15 are incented at a qualifying hourly wage of $27.92.

Awards made to nine startups

The Demonstration Fund provides financial and technical assistance to encourage high-technology prototype and concept development activities that have a clear potential to lead to commercially viable products or services within a reasonable period of time.

The fund provides financial assistance to encourage commercialization activities by small and medium-sized Iowa companies in the advanced manufacturing, biosciences and information technology industries. The primary purpose of the fund is to help businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract later-stage, private-sector funding.

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 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) Fund provides financial assistance to innovative businesses that are pursuing proof of commercial relevance and marketability of a technology.  The fund is designed to assist businesses with new technologies that have completed the proof of concept stage and are ready to be subjected to the rigors of the proof of commercial relevance stage that includes defining the market for the product and perfecting the product to meet market needs.

Award recommendations for these funds are made by the Technology Commercialization Committee (TCC) to the IEDA Board for approval.

Backyard Lion has developed a web platform designed to build connections between high school athletes and college coaches, particularly as it pertains to the recruitment process.  The company’s current objectives are to grow its regional athlete user base to validate its business model and improve application performance.  The Panora-based company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan primarily for market planning and market entry activities and product refinement.
Located in Johnston, Fermented Labs LLC, has developed a software application aimed at assisting craft breweries with streamlining administrative tasks.  The company was awarded a $100,000 loan through the Demonstration Fund for hiring key personnel and market planning and market entry activities.

Rational Surgical Solutions is a medical software company headquartered in West Des Moines. In 2016, the company introduced a Software as a Service (SaaS) product that educates patients in the pre-operative and post-operative periods about treatments and surgeries to improve patients’ comprehension of complex medical procedures and reduce the risk of malpractice suits.  The company received a $100,000 loan via the Demonstration Fund for product refinement and market planning and market entry activities.

CartilaGen is a medical technology company that is focused on researching and finding therapies for osteoarthritis. The company is a spin-off from the University of Iowa’s research institute and is currently located in Iowa City.  CartilaGen has developed several unique osteoarthritis and cartilage repair techniques.  The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for market planning and market entry activities.

Gross-Wen Technologies, LLC (GWT) is an Iowa State University startup company founded in March 2013. GWT uses its patent-pending Rotating Algal Biofilm (RAB) system to remove nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants from municipal wastewaters in an eco-friendly way.  The Ankeny-based company received a $25,000 POCR loan for hiring key personnel, product refinement and IP development and evaluation.

Ottumwa-based IAM AgTech, LLC was formed 2016 and is inspired by the increasing need for precision agriculture.  Through its new technologies and instruments, IAM AgTech’s optical processor technology will deliver in-field characterization of soil quality and use this information to optimize soil fertilization and increase crop yield.  The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for product refinement and market planning and market entry activities.

Terva LLC is a startup located in Ames. Terva has developed an online tool that breaks down barriers in the farmland real estate marketplace by providing real-time information about current listings and the farmland market to growers, investors and brokers.  The company received a $25,000 POCR loan mainly for IP development and evaluation.

FanFood, Inc. operates out of Iowa City and has developed an app that users can utilize to order food, beverages, and someday apparel for either express pickup, or delivery during the user’s favorite event.  The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for hiring key personnel and product refinement. 

ORGANizer is a health informatics software company located in Iowa City and founded in 2015. The company is developing an innovative software platform and mobile applications designed to improve the effectiveness, productivity, communication and coordination between transplant clinicians surrounding organ transplant recovery.  The board awarded ORGANizer a $100,000 loan through the Demonstration Fund for hiring key personnel (including CEO/COO with previous VP Sales experience in health tech startups and VP of Clinical Affairs) and market planning and market entry activities.

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Download a spreadsheet of today's awards:
iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/UserDocs/documents/IEDA/nov16awards.pdf

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Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: 1.515.348.6200
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