Rantizo is bringing drone technology to the ag industry

This story is part of a series that will look at and profile each of the six startups in NewBoCo’s Fall 2018 accelerator programs.

An Iowa City-based agtech startup is looking to change the way we spray crops.

Rantizo uses drone technology to spray crops, allowing farmers to more precisely deliver chemicals, such as fertilizer, to their fields.

Instead of using heavy tractors that can compress crops and spray gallons of liquid, Rantizo uses drones mounted with sprayers that send out electrically-charged droplets, which will enable liquid chemicals to wrap around and stick to plants.

“Basically, what we do is image what’s going on in a field to understand where there are problems, diagnose what those problems are and then deliver the needed spraying precisely where it’s needed, when it’s needed using a drone,” Michael Ott, Rantizo CEO said.

Initially, Rantizo will work with high-value crops that don’t take up a huge amount of area but still derive a lot of value, such as organic crops and greenhouse crops. Eventually, they plan to expand into commodity role crops as well.

“Our goal is to get to autonomous application. Because truthfully what we’re solving is the fact that there isn’t enough labor available in agriculture,” Ott said. “We’re trying to solve that by using software and machinery right where it’s needed when it’s needed.”

Dronesprayer flight

In March, Rantizo won the AgLaunch Startup Station Pitch Contest in Memphis, a competition for agtech startups to show off their products before farmers and agriculture-industry members. Two other Iowa agtech start-ups, Cedar Rapids-based SwineTech and Waukee-based AgriSync, also pitched during the AgLaunch competition.

Rantizo was recently announced as one of four companies participating in the 2018 fall cohort of the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

“I’ve been intimately familiar with the accelerator since it began so knew it had a lot to offer,” Ott said.

During the accelerator, Ott says he plans to improve Rantizo’s marketing footprint, continue developing the technology and advance the company’s intellectual property.”

Rantizo is currently doing trials locally and in Memphis with plans of having a product ready to sell in October 2019.

“Our market is custom applicators. They tend to wait until the harvest is done and start looking to buy new equipment and technology in October,” Ott said. “So we want to be ramped up and ready for that by next year.”