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IEDA Board approves assistance for an established company and four startups in Iowa

May 12, 2023

For more information contact:

Ms. Kanan Kappelman

IEDA Board approves assistance for an established company and four startups in Iowa

May 12, 2023 (DES MOINES, IA) – Today, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved awards for an established company in Ankeny and innovation funding in support of four startups located in Ames and Des Moines.

SPAL-USA to expand manufacturing operations from Italy to Ankeny

SPAL-USA, Inc. is the North American subsidiary of Italian company SPAL Automotive Srl, a market leader in the design, manufacture, sales and distribution of products across all types of vehicles and equipment. The company plans to build a 160,000-square-foot building to localize manufacturing and assembly operations in Ankeny with plans for further expansion. The existing sales and distribution center will be consolidated under the new structure. The project represents a $33.5 million capital investment and is expected to create 39 jobs, of which 15 are incented at a qualifying wage of $33.31 per hour. The board awarded the company a $200,000 forgivable loan and tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs program.

Awards made to four startups

Ag-tech startup SoilSerdem LLC in Ames provides scientific soil mapping to help with agronomic decision making. The service streamlines soil fertility mapping through high-resolution, up-to-date, accurate digital models for organizations that provide agronomy support to farmers. The company was awarded a $32,000 POCR loan for market and competition analyses and proof of concept work.

Varsity Music, Inc., owned and operated by marching band enthusiasts in Ames, produces illuminant instrument lights. The product is a programmable lighting unit that can be placed on instruments or uniforms to be used as a teaching tool or to enhance performances through a mobile app or computer software. The company was awarded a $50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan for product refinement, key personnel and equipment.

Ames-based Zymosense, Inc. created a platform to enable faster and more accurate high-throughput discovery of new enzymes for food, feed and pharmaceuticals. The technology will be used by enzyme manufacturers to secure intellectual property rights and get to market faster. The company was awarded a $100,000 Demonstration Fund loan for market and competition analyses, market planning and entry activities and key personnel.

Upvote, LLC, headquartered in Des Moines, is a scalable communication platform where users can find summarized, objective information related to policy and current events in plain language. Through advanced technologies, the model allows for constituents and elected officials to communicate real-time updates and messages on issues with access to different viewpoints and data insights. The company was awarded a $50,000 POCR loan for IP development and evaluation, market analysis, product refinement and marketing planning and entry activities.

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 here.

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