BOARD ACTION: Board Approves Projects From One Established and Four Startup Companies in Iowa

May 22, 2020

For more information contact:  

Kanan Kappelman, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Phone: 515.348.6248

IEDA Board Approves Projects from One Established and Four Startup Companies in Iowa  

May 22, 2020 (DES MOINES, IA) – Today, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved an award to a legacy company located in Monroe County, which will assist in the creation of 14 jobs and result in $210 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved innovation funding in support of four startups located in Ames, Cedar Falls, and DeWitt.

Cargill plans expansion in Monroe County
Cargill brings food, agriculture, financial and industrial products to people who need them all around the world. The company operates in 70 countries and has approximately 160,000 employees worldwide. Cargill’s project will produce a new bio-based, sustainable intermediate chemical that serves multiple end markets. Further diversifying production and technology at the Eddyville complex, the expansion will include production facility construction, new bioprocessing and fermentation machinery and equipment, research and development and improvements to wastewater treatment capacity. The board awarded Cargill tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs program. The project represents a $210 million capital investment and will create 14 jobs incented at a qualifying wage of $17.46 per hour.

Awards made to four startups

Curiosity Labs, a data acquisition company in Ames, develops platforms that automate manual visual tasks with computer vision. With a camera-enabled microscope for parasite detection in soil samples, they can answer questions for farmers regarding the reduction in soybean yields from common parasites, like nematodes. The cost of testing is high because the process is manual, which prevents farmers from treating the soil. Curiosity Labs’ automated platform decreases the testing cost, improves testing consistency and increases throughput. The company was awarded a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan for product refinement, market planning/market entry activities, key personnel and equipment.

Ames-based Providence Data Technologies, doing business as Distynct, uses A.I. and smart camera technologies to provide swine producers with a fully automated herd monitoring solution. Distynct helps swine producers overcome the burden of relying on the retrospective evaluation of data that is manually recorded. The technology puts critical production data such as real-time inventory, mortality monitoring, bio-security tracking, and supply chain mapping at the fingertips of caregivers and key decision makers. The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for IP development, proof of concept work, product refinement and key personnel.

Dhakai, based in Cedar Falls, is a B2B online sourcing marketplace offering an alternative way to source for apparel companies. Dhakai’s technology application connects U.S. retailers and private labels directly to verified Southeast Asian apparel manufacturers, allowing buyers to plug in their sourcing needs and then view the most relevant factories based on the search algorithm. Their global transparency, compliance and sustainability data help reduce costs and time. The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for IP development, market planning/market entry activities and key personnel.

The mobile/web platform, FarmHand App, gives farmers and ranchers the ability to easily connect with quality farm hands. With the technology, farmers can view a farm hand’s work experience and availability, as well as review applications and handle communication, providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to hire and manage farm hands. The company, based in DeWitt, was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for product refinement, market planning/market entry activities and other expenses.

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

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