Brad Epperly, a member of Nyemaster Goode's legislative lobbying team, was instrumental in guiding HF 615, originally named the Iowa Innovation Fund, through the Iowa General Assembly and to Governor Branstad's desk. Brad also worked closely with Rick Neumann, the Economic Development Authority, and legislative staff in drafting and re-drafting this legislation.
HF 615, which relates to the formation and operation of investment funds for the benefit of emerging Iowa businesses, amends Chapter 15E of the Iowa Code, the private component of the Governor's public/private partnership enacted in 2011. The purpose of these investment funds is to bridge the funding gap between angel and venture capital funding, and permanent long term financing for these emerging businesses, getting them through the proverbial "valley of death." The investment funds provide early stage private sector funding to innovative businesses with high growth potential, focusing such funding on businesses that show the potential to produce commercially viable products and services.
HF 615 increases the tax credit from 20% to 25%; enables the Innovation Corporation to leverage up to $32 million for capital investments in emerging Iowa companies; permits the original investor to transfer the tax credit one time; removes the 3-year restriction on redemption of the credit, allowing investors to utilize the credit upon issuance; and ensures that fund certification by the Economic Development Authority furthers the policy goals of the Innovation Corporation and other innovation programs.
Chapter 15E was passed in the 2011 session with the efforts of now retired Nyemaster Goode attorney Keith Luchtel. After consulting with multiple fund managers, the Iowa Innovation Council decided significant changes were needed to the statute in order to make the funds more attractive and marketable to investors and fund managers. After two legislative sessions of work by House and Senate Democrats and Republicans, and the Economic Development Authority, HF 615 was finally passed 94-2 in the House and 47-1 in the Senate.