Iowa Startup Power Rankings—May

Welcome back to the Iowa Startup Power Rankings! We kicked things off with a bang last month as Tourney Machine was a clear number one after their big news of being acquired by Sports Illustrated Play. They are absent from the list this month (sorry folks—an acquisition or IPO means you're ineligible moving forward) and we welcome three new companies to their first ever power rankings.

Just so you don't forget: here are the rules.

May Power Rankings

1. TelePharm (Iowa City)

Last month: Unranked

When you’re successful at getting state laws passed to allow your startup to conduct business, you’re in the power rankings. That is why the top spot this month belongs to TelePharm who, after more than four years of hard work, is now legally allowed to grow their telepharmacy business in Iowa.

The company, founded in 2012, previously had five pilot projects operating in Iowa communities under a waiver and now that the legal hurdles have been cleared they plan to expand 80 more within the next three years.

TelePharm has 19 employees, operates in 12 states and raised $2.5MM in 2014.


Hey, that's TelePharm founder Roby Miller (far left) with Governor Branstad (middle, the guy with the pen) as he officially signs the legislation.

2. Men's Style Lab (Des Moines)

Last Month: Unranked

Men's Style Lab has moved on up to the east side of downtown Des Moines with the opening of their new digs in the East Village. The space is 8,000 sq ft (nearly double the size of their old offices) and includes a "guide shop" which will be an in-person experience to complement their existing online one. Oh, and the guide shop "will come with a bar stocked with two local brews on tap, a flat-screen TV, leather furniture and three fitting areas" according to The Register. That's my kind of shopping experience.

Also contributing to MSL's high ranking this month was founder Derian Baugh's keynote at the Greater Des Moines Partnership's Accelerate DSM event last week. Derian's talk—sharing specifics on leading the company through significant struggles last year—was open, honest and, at times, emotional. I've probably seen nearly 100 founders give talks in settings like this and I'd say Derian's was easily in the top 10.

Men's Style Lab has 15 employees and has raised nearly $3MM in capital.  

3. UpCraft Club (Des Moines)

Last month: #3

UpCraft Club holds down the third position two months in a row with the recognition that they just wrapped up their time in San Francisco as part of Batch16 at 500Startups. TechCrunch highlighted UpCraft Club as number three in their list of 11 "favorite companies from 500 Startups’ 16th Demo Day" on May 13. According to TechCrunch, UpCraft Club currently has revenues of $9,000/mo (and growing) with customers in 80 countries.

4. Global Insurance Accelerator (Des Moines)

Last month: Unranked

Speaking of accelerators, the Global Insurance Accelerator graduated it's latest class on May 18. Six insurance-related startups from three countries participated in the program's second cohort.

Adding to their spot this month, they GIA announced a new investor for the program: Mutual of Omaha. All eight investors are insurance carriers and the Nebraska-based Mutual of Omaha marks the first out-of-state group to get involved. 

5. Syncbak (Cedar Rapids)

Last Month: #2

Syncbak is also on the list for consecutive months, falling from second place last month to fifth. It was their $3MM investment from Atlanta-based Gray Television that vaulted them on to the charts last time and its the undisclosed investment from Madison, Wisc.-based Morgan Murphy Media that keeps them here this time.