Middle Bit: Colin Hurd of Smart Ag named on Forbes 30 Under 30

Colin Hurd was recently named to Forbes 2019 30 Under 30 list for founding Smart Ag, an Ames-based agtech company that provides autonomous systems to farmers

Hurd, who grew up on a farm and studied agriculture and business at Iowa State University, founded Smart Ag to commercialize autonomous farming solutions. Its first product, AutoCart, allows farmers to operate a driverless grain cart tractor from the cab of the combine.

Launched at the Farm Progress Show this summer, AutoCart is the software system which monitors and controls an autonomous grain cart tractor. The app allows setting staging and unloading locations in a field, adjusting speed, monitoring locations, and commanding the grain cart to sync.

The Smart Ag kit for AutoCart comes with an automation kit, hardware to connect machines to the cloud and tractor, the software and the overall farm, field and machinery platform for autonomous farming.

In June, Smart Ag received a $5 million investment from Stine Seed.

The Forbes list features 600 people in 20 different fields. Hurd was featured in the manufacturing and industry section.

What else is happening?


Minneapolis-based Travel Labs joins Beta.MN and raises $500,000. Travel Labs is the creator of an artificial intelligence platform intended to make business travel easier. They are also the creator of a travel application called Tempore, which helps provide business travelers with a reimagined experience. –Silicon Prairie News

Midwest startup accelerator gener8tor announced a new partnership with Allianz Life Ventures and Securian Financial to establish the OnRamp Insurance Accelerator in the Twin Cities, reports AmericanInno. Five startups will be welcomed into the three-month program each year, with a cash investment of $100,000. The program builds off the existing OnRamp Insurance Conference, which has been hosted at Chicago’s Soldier Field since inception in 2016; the April 2019 conference will be moved to the Target Center in Minneapolis. –innovationIOWA


St. Louis-based CoverCress Inc., formerly known as Arvegenix, has closed a $2 million follow-on equity investment round, bringing its total funding to just under $8 million.  Bayer Growth Ventures, the venture capital arm of Bayer and formerly Monsanto Growth Ventures, co-led the round with BioGenerator, the investment arm of local nonprofit BioSTL. –St. Louis Business Journal