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Dibzees and BettrLife Bring in State Funds for Staff Expansion

Thanks to financial assistance awards announced Friday by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, two Iowa startups are preparing to add at least three full-time employees apiece.

Dibzees, a penny auction site based in Iowa City, received $500,000 from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund through a royalty agreement. The funding supports the addition of five full-time employees and three contract employees, co-founder and CEO Casey Everts said in a phone interview Monday. The new team members will join four full-time employees and a half-dozen contractors to help Dibzees complete features of its latest version, which it rolled out in February.

Everts and his two co-founders met at the University of Iowa and launched Dibzees in 2009 with winnings from business plan competitions and personal investment. In 2011, the company raised a seed round of an undisclosed amount from a private group of Iowa City and East Coast investors. With new features and expected growth on the way—the site has "roughly 50,000" sign-ups—Everts said the company is in the process of raising a Series A round.

BettrLife, a health and wellness tech startup based in Des Moines, received a $250,000 loan from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund. The funding will help the startup, which currently has 12 full-time employees, hire 3-5 more, co-founder and CEO Don Schoen said in a phone interview Monday. After a "soft launch" of a mobile app in March, BettrLife gathered feedback and examined the usability of its product. Now, Schoen said, the company is preparing for a "significant release" in December.

Schoen co-founded BettrLife as Buyer Compass in 2010, and he made an initial capital investment in the company that year. The company closed a $1.25 million Series A round in October of this year from a group of undisclosed investors.


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