Middle Bit: N-Sense receives $225,000 National Science Foundation grant

Ames-based agtech startup N-Sense has been awarded a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant will allow N-Sense to conduct research and development work on developing a field mobile soil nitrate sensor for precision fertilizer management.

“N-Sense offers a unique solution that would enable farmers to measure nitrates in real-time, on-the-go and apply nitrogen only where it is needed,” said Dr. David Laird, President and co-founder of N-Sense in an announcement. “It is estimated that our system would result in a $10-$50 per acre savings for farmers, and a cleaner environment for all.”

The technology behind N-Sense is based on mid-infrared sensor technology and was developed by a team of scientists at Iowa State University. N-Sense’s soil sensor system can be attached to nitrogen fertilizer applicators and used to regulate nitrogen fertilizer application rates as the applicator moves through a field.

The SBIR Phase I project will allow N-Sense to demonstrate the feasibility of building a field-mobile soil nitrate sensor.

Having been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant, N-Sense is now eligible to apply for a Phase II grant of up to $750,000.

Technology and Innovation Showcase

The Emerge Foundation and Launchpad65 are hosting an Innovation & Technology Showcase on Tuesday, February 26 from 2:00-4:00 in Hubbell Hall at the Simpson College Kent Center. 

The free event will spotlight several technologies and faculty-led STEM projects both at Simpson College and in the greater Indianola business community.

The event will consist of networking with researchers, a series of 10-15 minute presentations and individual project Q&A time.

Following Indianola Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting and social event highlighting how LaunchPad65 and The Emerge Foundation are supporting local entrepreneurship will follow from 4:30-6:00.

 Following this event will be a ribbon cutting and reception for LaunchPad65 from 4:30-6:00.

What else is happening?


LandscapeHub, founded in 2017 and based in Prairie View, Illinois, closed a $5.16 million venture deal with undisclosed investors on February 1. The company provides a B2Bmarketplace for the nursery and landscape industry aimed at solving procurement inefficiencies. The platform offers computer and mobile access to a large network of wholesale suppliers across the country including nurseries, distributors, manufacturers, and brokers. -Silicon Prairie News


Green Dot Bioplastics, an Emporia, Kansas-based material science company, closed a $6.5m Series A funding round. The round was led by Fulcrum Global Capital with participation from Open Prairie through its Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund and iiM (Innovations in Motion). The company intends to use the funds to accelerate organic growth, develop and commercialize new bioplastic products and uses, and invest in new IP and capabilities. -FinSMEs