BOARD ACTION: Board approves projects from three established and five startup companies in Iowa

November 20, 2020

For more information contact:  

Kanan Kappelman, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Email: communications@iowaeda.com  
Phone: 515.348.6248

IEDA Board approves projects from three established and five startup companies in Iowa   

November 20 2020 (DES MOINES, IA) – Today, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved awards for three established companies, which will assist in the creation of 76 jobs and result in over $112 million in new capital investment for the state. These projects are located in Cedar Rapids, Clinton and Manchester. The board also approved innovation funding in support of five startups located in Ames, Davenport, Iowa City and Urbandale.
 
In Tolerance to expand in Cedar Rapids
In Tolerance manufactures build-to-print metal and plastic products in a high mix, low volume niche for the aerospace, defense, medical, information technology and agricultural markets in Iowa and throughout the United States. Utilizing the latest technology of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) manufacturing mills, lathes and Swiss equipment coupled with automation techniques and equipment, In Tolerance manufactures products and completes the vertically integrated finished coatings process in-house. The company plans to build an automated line, which will expand manufacturing capability to complete more work in Iowa. The project represents an almost $3.5 million capital investment and expects to create six jobs incented at $23.20 per hour. The board awarded the project tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs (HQJ) program.
 
Spiber to expand operations in Clinton from Japan
A subsidiary of Spiber Inc., Japan, Spiber America LLC will purchase and own equipment and buildings at the ADM Bioprocessing biorefinery in Clinton. Spiber will partner with ADM to be the first to implement manufacturing technologies to produce innovative structural proteins for industrial materials at a commercial scale in the United States. These Brewed Protein™ polymers are biobased and can be processed into a wide variety of industrial materials such as fibers, films, leather, fur, foams, plastics, composites and more with unique properties designed at the molecular level. The company will modify ADM fermentation tanks and construct new purification and wastewater pretreatment equipment. Spiber will partner with ADM to operate the equipment. The board awarded the project a forgivable loan through the HQJ program. The project is a $101.4 million capital investment and is expected to create five jobs incented at a qualifying wage of $17.57 per hour.
See the full press release on Spiber’s project for more information.
 
XL Specialized Trailers to expand facility in Manchester
Headquartered in Manchester, XL Specialized Trailers manufactures customized heavy-haul trailer solutions for customers in North America. Primarily serving commercial and construction markets, the company also serves agricultural, oil and gas, wind and custom markets. The project will expand the existing facility by 55,000 square feet to allow for additional fabrication, paint, parking and office improvements. The board awarded this $7.3 million capital investment project tax benefits through the HQJ program. It is expected to create 65 jobs at a qualifying wage of $21.43 per hour.
 
Awards made to five startups
 
Qi Learning, based in Ames, promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through trainings, products and workshops for instructors. Designed with a skills-based approach, Qi provides teachers with the tools to teach and actively engage students in standards-aligned instruction with the resources they already have. The company focuses on effective teaching methodologies with an emphasis in STEM, although the programs can be applied to all subjects. With distance learning during the pandemic, Qi has been able to provide programs to help with the transition. The company was awarded a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan for product refinement, market planning/entry activities, key personnel and equipment.
 
Davenport-based TapOnIt, a messaging technology company, provides a SaaS platform that enables businesses to reach, engage and convert opted-in customers through personalized multi-channel messaging, known as TapOnIt Technology. The platform helps automate a brand’s entire customer engagement and retention strategy. TapOnIt Deals, powered by TapOnIt Technology, is the company’s branded, national database of consumers that have opted in to receive offers and promotions from restaurants, retail and entertainment businesses via text message. The company was awarded a $250,000 Innovation Acceleration Propel fund award for growing the team and the database and continuing product development.
 
MC4L in Davenport creates products and services for the higher education marketplace, which are developed from their proprietary dataset of college pricing information gathered through TuitionFit, the company’s online platform. Providing more transparency for students and families seeking higher education, the platform compares individualized college prices by engaging in a secure exchange of information. With this dataset, students and families can purchase comparative pricing information, college search professionals can subscribe to search it and higher education institutions can subscribe to access competitor pricing information. The company was awarded a $100,000 Demonstration Fund loan for marketing planning/entry activities and key personnel.
 
Founded around a medical technology developed at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, CartilaGen produces a novel therapeutic for post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). Filling an unmet medical need, the company’s product can prevent the development of the disease at the earliest stage. The current therapeutic landscape only consists of products to manage the symptoms, nothing with preventative of curative capabilities. CartilaGen’s innovative product is the only treatment that focuses on the earliest stage of PTOA and modifies the underlying disease in an easily performed, cost-effective manner. The company was awarded a $25,000 Investigative Proof of Commercial Relevance loan.
 
A mobile app and web-based platform, Tractor Zoom in Urbandale allows customers to quickly search and value heavy equipment using big data and technology. Used specifically for upcoming farm equipment auctions, the app streamlines the advertising process to directly place the auctions in the hands of farmers. Farmers are now able to search auction inventory across the entire country anytime, anywhere. It will build a database of comparable sales to assist with equipment valuations and industry market trends. The company was awarded a $250,000 Innovation Acceleration Propel fund award for product refinement, market planning/entry activities and key personnel.
   
Award recommendations for these funds are made by the Technology Commercialization Committee to the IEDA Board for approval.

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Download a spreadsheet with today's awards.

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