ISU Ag Startup Engine announces pair of investments

The Ag Startup Engine at the Iowa State University Research Park announced a pair of investments Monday.

Nebullam, an aeroponic and machine learning technology company for crop producers, received a $25,000 initial seed investment. Performance Livestock Analytics, a company that helps livestock producers become more sustainable and profitable, received a follow-on investment of $25,000, according to a news release Monday morning.

Performance Livestock Analytics initially received a $25,000 investment in 2016 from the Ag Startup Engine.

Both businesses are based in Ames and have been apart of the Iowa State Startup Factory for the past six months.


According to the release, these startups join Gross-Wen Technologies and Smart Ag in the portfolio of companies at the ASE. The ASE was launched to help address early seed stage investment and receive organized mentorship from successful Iowan and Midwestern entrepreneurs.

Joel Harris, co-director of the ASE, said these startups set the bar high for successful entrepreneurial efforts in Iowa and the Midwest.

“The ISU Startup Factory is fostering some of the best early seed agtech stage flow I’ve been privy to seeing,” Harris says. “My hope is through our investor members and mentors we’re able to solve small challenges early for these startups, before they become real roadblocks.”

The ASE provides agricultural entrepreneurs with a structured means of moving from a startup concept to a seed-ready business. And with working alongside the ISU Startup Factory Accelerator, the program is implementing an infrastructure for mentoring, rapid prototyping, product development, financing and customer acquisition.

The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative was created in 2005 to broaden understanding of entrepreneurship among faculty and students of the College of Agriculture and Life Science at Iowa State. This is done by providing educational experiences to develop students’ entrepreneurial skills and increase interaction among students, faculty and agricultural entrepreneurs.

According to the release, over the next two years the ASE hopes to add six to ten more agriculture technology startups like Nebullam and PLA to the portfolio, ranging from animal health to precision agriculture.

Performance Livestock Analytics joined ASE in October of 2016 during its initial seed round. The company has over 100 paying subscribers since the launch of its “Performance Beef” platform services in January of 2017, according to the release.

“We experience much of our growth from our current users,” PLA co-founder Dustin Balsley said. “It’s great to see our customers so excited about our products and telling their neighbors and friends.

“We strive to make our products valuable enough to producers that they become active advocates for Performance Beef.”