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Director Debi Durham said various programs, such as Demo, Acceleration and Propel funds, have succeeded in promoting early stage businesses' growth.

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The state's innovation fund is designed to help young Iowa companies grow, an area in which critics say the state has failed to provide enough support.

The state's economic development department has helped give startups a financial push.

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"They could go to a bank if they were," he said.

Kittrell said he's well aware of the argument that Iowa investors are cautious with their investments. But he said that is not necessarily a bad thing, because it Puma King 2007 creates a threshold that entrepreneurs must meet to be considered for investment.

The firm will invest in companies that have existing revenue and are on a path to rapid growth, though not necessarily profitable yet.

But Ferguson said he feels a change coming.

"Once a deal is consummated with a company, everybody is aligned for success," said Ibsen, whose fund plans to raise $30 million by the end of March. "At that stage, our aim is to talk very publicly about a portfolio. You want to bring as much attention and prominence to the companies as possible."

"It's almost a Midwest way of doing things and communicating," Ferguson said. "You don't tend to pat yourselves on the back for the good things you do."

That middle ground between the state aid for startups and investments from venture capitalists often is considered a financing "valley of death." The result: Innovative companies sometimes leave Iowa in search of investors.

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It's an approach more California and New York than Iowa.

More tech and startup funders are trying to change that culture of secrecy. They hope speaking publicly about investment will spur others to open up, and that will prompt others to consider investing.

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Meanwhile, the former chief executive officer of ACT, Dick Ferguson, spoke at length with The Des Moines Register about his recent investment in Higher Learning Technologies in Coralville.

For instance, Dwolla founder Ben Milne posted a blog entry when he announced an investment in Iowa City startup clusterFlunk. Plains Angels, a Des Moines based investment group, now lays out its portfolio on its website, as well.

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proud Iowa investors sought

That's the support Ibsen hopes to provide with Next Level Ventures.

As Iowa's tech startup community has matured, some entrepreneurs have complained that Iowa's investors have not done the same. While some lament a perceived lack of capital in the state, others say Iowans are investing but staying largely quiet.

It's not just a matter of money. Entrepreneurs want investors to brag a bit about supporting a homegrown, high growth potential company.

business idea that is Goodsmiths, a roughly three year old startup that built an online craft marketplace from scratch.

The 52 year old managing principal of the new investment fund Next Level Ventures said the firm will be as public as possible when it pours money into a new company.

Next Level opened its new offices at the Financial Center in downtown Des Moines recently. The roughly 25 investors in the fund have a track record of handling more than $100 million in investments.

"The innovation stuff is working so well," she said. "The point is that the money stays within the state."

"There is never going to be enough capital in this state for the deals out there," he said. "But that's a good thing. We want to make sure people are doing their darnedest to come up with good ideas and compete for those deals."

"We are open for business," he said. "We are looking for those great Iowa opportunities."

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Next Level investors will seek a seat on a company's board of directors, which is a relationship most Iowa entrepreneurs have little experience with, said Mark Kittrell, president of Iowa Innovation Corp. The nonprofit group pushed for the angel tax credits and other measures to bridge the funding gap that plagues small companies.

a total of 10 years, with investments generally happening during the first five years.

Des Moines native Craig Ibsen wants to change Iowa investors' reputation of being secretive and private.

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Most Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley investment firms list companies they invest in prominently on their websites to raise the profile of companies. So will Next Level.

About two months ago, entrepreneur James Eliason touched off a firestorm with a blog post that took Iowa's investment community to task for failing to understand the Adidas Ace 16.4 Black And Gold

Next Level is required to invest in Iowa companies to take advantage of the state's angel tax credits. Ibsen said he hopes to fund eight to 12 deals within the state during the next five years. These kinds of funds Adidas Messi Shoes Kids

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"I do sense there is a growing enthusiasm for being more forthcoming in that regard," he said. "Those are things you have to get visible or you won't get the support you need."

When the federal government routed $13.2 million to the state through the State Small Business Credit Initiative in 2011, it helped officials keep the programs funded.

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