10 Startups in Iowa to Keep an Eye on in 2018

Feb 05, 2018 | Startups

10 Startups in Iowa to Keep an Eye on in 2018

America's Heartland, the Midwest, Field of Dreams and Silicon Prairie are just some of the ways to refer to our little slice of heaven here in Iowa. As technology transforms non-tech industries like health care, agriculture, transportation, finance and manufacturing embrace innovation and technology, startups in the Midwest are poised to take advantage of being to those potential customers. There are also other advantages to living in the Midwest such as a growing economy, stable cost of living and improved access to capital. Here is a list of ten tech startups that get to call Iowa home. 

By no means is this an exhaustive list. There are a lot of different companies doing a lot of unique and innovative things. While still startups in my opinion, some of these companies are in different stages from recently launching, receiving initial rounds of funding, and experiencing exponential growth. I've had the chance to chat with most of these companies and learn about their unique challenges faced in each one of these stages.



Launched nationally in 2010, Dwolla (Des Moines) offered merchants and consumers an online and mobile alternative to expensive card networks. Since then, the company has evolved and expanded its technology to meet the challenges of its customers, introducing innovations in real-time payments, frictionless bank transfers, and tokenization. Following the 2011 release of its first publicly available API, the company introduced its White Label API in 2015. In 2017, white label became one of the features of the Dwolla API. The Dwolla Platform connects third-party applications to the U.S. banking infrastructure.

Dwolla’s robust ACH API makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to quickly deploy a powerful bank transfer infrastructure into their native platforms. From facilitating ACH payments to verifying customer and bank account information, Dwolla’s API makes a notoriously complicated process easy to integrate into existing business operations.




Granular Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that develops and markets farm management software. The company's software allows farmers to manage operational and financial data on a single cloud and mobile platform.

In 2017, DuPont announced it was acquiring Granular for $300 million. Although based in Iowa, with the acquisition by DuPont, Granular has been making a big impact in Iowa. Granular is now leading Digital Agriculture for DuPont in Johnston, which includes responsibility for Encirca® services, DuPont’s agronomic software business.



Des Moines based startup, BREWD provides software crafted for breweries managing raw materials, production, brewing, inventory, delivery, and sales. BREWD is committed to making brewing beer easier and more efficient for our customers. By using technology to unify all aspects of the brewing business, they help eliminate thousands of hours of paperwork and duplication of efforts, enabling small businesspeople to focus less on tedious tasks and more on what matters most—running and growing their breweries.




AgriSync (Waukee) is a mobile-based pro-active support tool that connects farmers with their trusted advisors remotely. AgriSync enables farmers and advisors to connect and resolve support issues using a mobile video customer service platform. Farmers can connect with multiple advisors from different companies to submit and receive support in real-time via video. Advisors can manage multiple farmer service tickets through a dashboard and remote video that allows them to see what the farmer sees in real time. At AgriSync.com a customer service dashboard allows the advisors organization to see open cases, resolution status and farmer feedback in real-time. 


AppLink.io (yes, that’s us)


AppLink.io (Des Moines) is a mobile app analytics tool and marketing platform that provides app statistics, metrics, tracking and monitoring capabilities. AppLink.io provides the foundation to build a decision supporting tool, that will help leaders know the performance of their mobile apps, but more importantly, understand the data behind user’s behavior.

AppLink.io has partnered with leading SaaS vendors including HubSpot, Zendesk, Marketo and Salesforce to help monitor and measure meaningful data to drive results. In less than one year we were able to aquire clients in five countries and are tracking metrics for thousands of users in fourty countries.




HomeDitty™ in Des Moines is an online platform specifically designed to make hosting house concerts easy and hassle free. It's absolutely FREE to sign up and host a concert in your home. Anyone can do it! HomeDitty features a network of musicians' profiles by genre or location.

Instead of the host fronting the cost of the band, the system will automatically create a private crowdfund for each host to pool money among friends in advance of the show through an online RSVP process. Hosts also have the option of paying for the cost of the artist(s) themselves. Hosts don't have to worry about collecting contributions or paying musicians as the artists are paid electronically through the platform. 


Higher Learning Technology


Coralville, Iowa-based startup Higher Learning Technology uses today's latest technology to deliver engaging study apps for students of all types. HLT was sparked by paper flashcards that Alec Whitters, Co-Founder and CEO, and his peers were using to study for their dental boards. Wouldn’t it make better sense, he thought, to use their smartphones to study? When he didn’t find an effective mobile-learning solution, he decided to create it. HLT was born.

Since then, HLT has raised over 14 Million in funding and received multiple awards and recognitions including Two-time Mobile App of the Year Winner, 2 top 5 grossing educational apps in the App Store and Google Play, and answered over 12 million practice questions.


Military Cost Cutters


Originally from Davenport, now located in Des Moines, Military Cost Cutters is a veteran owned company that allows the military community to search for military friendly businesses and the discounts they are offering. Simply sign up to be a member and download the free mobile app. The Loyalty Rewards Program allows you to receive future deals from businesses you have visited.


High Caliber Community


High Caliber Community (HC2) is founded by veterans, for veterans in Cedar Rapids. The mission at HC2 is to empower and unite the veteran community by strengthening bonds in neighborhoods across the country. High Caliber Community believes in maintaining camaraderie throughout everyday life. HC2 will provides a secure platform for veterans and current service members of all branches to connect directly with one another, find events in their area, match with resources and benefits, and provide a searchable database of veteran owned businesses, non-profit organizations, and businesses that cater to the military community. 




As a military veteran and former police officer, GOVRED is my personal favorite. Located in Cedar Rapids, GOVRED specializes in building turnkey virtual reality training technology for the military, law enforcement, and first responders. Military and police departments face the difficult task of training recruits for uncommon scenarios that do not occur in everyday life. When challenged with the task of re-creating everything from traffic stops to battlefields, virtual reality can become an asset. 

GOVRED provides the military with full line of firearms training and combat simulators. Military engagement training has never been more realistic than with GOVRED’s proprietary training technology. They also provide law enforcement agencies with an extensive line of the best judgmental use of force, crisis intervention, de-escalation, active shooter, and firearm training simulators.

Adam Hass

Adam Hass

I'm a military veteran and former police officer turned entrepreneur, marketer and engineer. I taught myself programming at the age of 12 and have always been driven by a love for entrepreneurship. I joined the military after high school and served in Iraq before getting my degree from Columbia College. I'm also the founder and CEO of AppLink.io where we combine technology and marketing to deliver better results.

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