As a fifth generation, Northwest Iowa dairy farmer Steve Brockshus remembers going to land sales and always asking his father what the land would go for and what it was worth.
As he got older he stayed curious.
“I started asking questions, talking with other farmers and learned that having access to updated information on what land is worth as well as understanding the quality and production of that land, it’s just a difficult task to do,” Brockshus, 24, explains.
Questions continued during his time as an undergraduate student at Iowa State University.
“So at Iowa State in 2015 I took a class called ag entrepreneurship and our professor challenged us to share our idea with people and go talk to customers,” Brockshus says.
His idea was to build an online marketplace where landowners can connect farmers or buyers to purchase or rent their land.
“This was the idea that caught the most traction,” Brockshus says.
Fast forwarding to 2017 where that idea has become Terva.Ag and Brockshus is preparing to meet with investors. Version 1.0 is live and customers can sign up to receive alerts for what land is selling for.
“We’ve got a solid user base less than two months in,” Brockshus says. “It’s great to hear farmland owners and brokers say they couldn’t get this up to date information.”
How did we get here?
Rewinding to 2015, Brockshus participated in the Ames Startup Weekend where ideas are pitched and the top eight are selected to work with a team to produce a business plan, prototype and marketing strategy. At the end of the weekend, one idea is picked as a winner.
Brockshus had the top idea, again.
“That got some buzz around it,” Brockshus says.
In 2016 he then participated in Venture School in Des Moines – a six-week program designed to act as an accelerator to the startup process – that provided him feedback on the business.
“I’m very fortunate to have gotten this off the ground while I was in school,” Brockshus says. “Those connections have been brought out by that and I couldn’t thank those people enough. “
Brockshus graduated from Iowa State in the Spring of 2017 with a degree in Agriculture Education and a minor in entrepreneurship.
The first version of Terva launched in May and serves as a data provider to see what land is for sale and what has sold.
But Brockshus believes if the company can raise some funding it could become the full marketplace where a landowner can post and sell his land.
“Building out that marketplace component is what we are raising money for,” he says.