Two Des Moines men believe they’ve identified a problem and have their own solution.
With a new mobile app, Tractor Zoom connects farmers with equipment auctions across the Midwest.
It’s like taking each local newspaper ads and putting them in an app.
“We don’t sell anything, we’re just a place to find it,” Tractor Zoom Founder Kyle McMahon says.
McMahon said the idea of Tractor Zoom evolved over the last 12 months and launched Nov. 1. It became his full-time job in May after working for Summit Agriculture Group buying and selling farmland for private equity funds—while developing a business plan.
And Zac Sandvig worked for Baker Group before starting as the Tractor Zoom CPA Nov. 1.
“I was going to my day job M-F, then working nights, mornings and weekends with Kyle,” Sandvig says. “Just brainstorming and figuring out the strategies about the business and where we want to take it. Eventually, we got to a point where Kyle needed me full time and I was ready to make the leap.”
What it does
McMahon says each auctioneer uses several different platforms to store their data from each item at their sale. And Tractor Zoom has an uploader to download and import that data into the app.
“I have a whole new respect for auctioneer’s,” McMahon says. “They have to manage a lot of data. I mean, in just a typical farm equipment auction there’s a huge process that goes into doing that professionally.
“It’s a half a million dollars worth of equipment that sells in, an hour? So it’s just a huge lead-up to that point.”
McMahon says through relationships with auctioneer’s, they will get more, “Blue dots on the map.”
He said Tractor Zoom has nearly 30 auctioneer’s registered.
“We are for the auctioneer’s,” McMahon says. “And after the sale, the auctioneer has an opportunity to get a discount on their advertising if they report the auction results. And those results will go directly to a farmer better being able to better value their assets before making a purchase.”
Sandvig says the search box provides users with the ability to search for a specific tractor.
“It will pop up and show you where it’s being sold at,” Sandvig says. “It’s easy to use and something I think will add value to farmers who are out in rural Iowa where they can’t drive down the road to meet people.”
And ultimately, McMahon says Tractor Zoom could become a worldwide platform.
“We believe we’ve solved a major pain point in the market,” McMahon said.
Joining the startup community
Tractor Zoom offices out of the Gravitate coworking space in Valley Junction but also has space at Research Park at Iowa State University with and with the Iowa State Startup Factory.
“When you come into the startup world, it’s a totally different mindset and a lot of fun,” McMahon said. “There are so many people willing to help, all you have to do is ask.”
As they evolved, McMahon and Sandvig hope to add new features to the app.
“How do you save a farmer time?” McMahon asks. “Right now they are spending over 50 hours a year searching for farm equipment. So a simple thing like push notifications that if something comes up in your area, could easily be added.”
Startups receive funding from Iowa Economic Development Authority – Nov. 20, 2017