Silicon Prairie News just released its first “State of the Silicon Prairie Report” 2016. Iowa City ranked 6th amongst Midwest cities. However, Iowa City, led by startups out of the University of Iowa, had the second strongest innovation index in the study (only behind St. Louis). The city [and the University of Iowa ] produces significant SBIR grants and companies and has strong research based startup activity. According to our survey, the folks in Iowa City believe that their community is on the rise.
Iowa City’s challenge appears to be in sustaining companies and helping them grow via finance––not just VC money, but also SBA loans. The community scored particularly low in areas that had impact from finance related metrics.
The report attempts to mitigate some of the issues caused by size differences between cities by providing a RAW score and a CAP score. The raw category simply ranks the communities based on their total data “points”. This ranking is helpful to get an idea of the total size of an ecosystem and generally will provide a more reliable ranking.