ISAV Portfolio Company: Gross-Wen Technologies

A Better Way to Treat Wastewater

ISA Ventures and Iowa Farm Bureau’s Rural Vitality Fund co-led a $6.5 million Series A investment in Gross-Wen Technologies, along with Next Level Ventures, Mid-American Angels, Ankeny Angels, Ag Startup Engine, Oman Ventures, and 1330 Investments.

Gross-Wen Technologies has a patented wastewater treatment technology that uses algae to clean wastewater. Gross-Wen’s revolving algae biofilm allows both municipalities and industries to retrofit current treatment plants in an economical and sustainable way. 

There are several reasons why ISA Ventures co-led this investment, including: 

  1. The team: Founder Martin Gross developed this technology while at Iowa State University and has since expanded the team bringing on industry veterans with 60+ years in the wastewater treatment space. The team’s domain expertise has allowed Gross-Wen to accelerate their sales pipeline and connections within the wastewater treatment industry. They also exhibit the intangible founder qualities we look for, like transparency, prioritization, humility, and resilience. 

  2. Solving a global need: As the global population grows and city density increases, nutrient management is at the forefront of wastewater treatment. Communities are looking for better and more cost-effective ways to meet stricter federal water quality requirements. Gross-Wen provides that scalable, targeted, and cost-effective solution.

  3. Technology: Gross-Wen has developed and has 6 issued patents on the best way to grow algae. They’ve used science and research to turn algae, something often viewed as a problem, into a solution. After 3 years of R&D, they’ve commercialized the technology in a way that can be scaled up or down to meet a wide variety of needs from small cities in Iowa to large municipalities, like Chicago, IL, validating the effectiveness of their technology. 

  4. Growth potential: In addition to serving municipalities, Gross-Wen’s technology is also applicable in large industrial companies who are focused on sustainability efforts. Additional revenue streams are also in the pipeline for algae fertilizer, establishing a circular economy and offsetting some of the installation costs for their technology. 

ISA Venture’s investment in Gross-Wen Technologies will help them implement their first commercial installation in Slater, Iowa. The Gross-Wen team will be joining ISA’s Expansion accelerator program, focusing on the pathway towards acquisition and supporting them on their entrepreneurial journey. 

Here’s a little more about Gross-Wen’s product and vision: