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Performance Livestock Analytics: Growing outside of Iowa

Performance Livestock Analytics

The founders of Performance Livestock Analytics had no intentions of creating a “small” business.

And as of today, they’ve succeeded.

The Ames-based AgTech company uses Bluetooth technology to track each pound of food that goes to each animal, along with each dollar associated with the animal. The technology provides producers with a more accurate, efficient way to feed animals.

Performance Livestock Analytics COO and co-founder Dustin Balsley said they’ve signed partnerships with Cargill, Animal Nutrition and Purina Animal Nutrition to deploy their product to existing customers.

“They work with their producers to use our system on their feedlots,” Balsley says. “Just creating this platform or ecosystem that they can better work together. That’s what got them excited, we are creating a platform that works for the entire industry rather than one segment.”

Balsley says Performance Livestock Analytics now has customers in 11 states plus Canada.

“We didn’t set out to do this in a small way,” Balsley says. “We want to do some big things. I don’t know if I would have imagined this would grow as fast as it has and to continue having this momentum we are having. But our goal is to absolutely grow large and serve as many people as we possibly can.”

Word of mouth marketing

Balsley says the team at Performance Livestock Analytics has grown from six people in September to 15 employees. He said while they are always looking to improve the system for producers, they are also trying to create tools other can work together on.

“A lot of the custom feed yards feel like they are seeing an ROI directly and getting paid for what they are truly feeding,” Balsley explained. “But most of our growth is a testament to our producers talking to one another. That’s what drives our sales, these neighbors and producers speaking highly of us.”

Balsley says he can scan Twitter and see what customers are saying about their product.

“We don’t have to travel but we choose to as much as we can because it’s an opportunity to build that relationship while also allowing them to have a better understanding of the software,” Balsley says. “So these customers become advocates of ours faster.”

And when the company is recognized at the Prometheus Awards as the “Most Outstanding Startup” of the year by the Technology Association of Iowa, it’s a confirmation of the great work being done by the team.

“We are excited to grow this business here in Iowa,” Balsley says. “This entrepreneurial community we have in Iowa is amazing.”

Balsley said the software will continue to be expanded with the potential of becoming a multi-species software.

Previous coverage

AgTech startup is eliminating paper from the farm – Sept. 18, 2017

Performance Livestock Analytics: Growing outside of Iowa | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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