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Kimle Aquaculture is simplifying aquaculture production systems

A new company in Ames is looking to simplify the way aquaculture facilities operate.

The company, Kimle Aquaculture, is developing an aquaculture system that lowers energy requirements and capture of nitrogen, phosphorus and CO2.

Kimle Aquaculture is based around Gross-Wen Technologies‘ patented wastewater treatment technology, known as the revolving algal biofilm system, Jackson Kimle, co-founder and General Manager of Kimle Aquaculture told Clay & Milk.

“The beauty of using Gross Wen’s system is that the algae is actually able to uptake the ammonia directly,” Kimle said. “That gives us the ability to simplify the system radically.”

The company is currently running two trials—a trout production trial in Story City and a shrimp production trial just starting in Northwest Iowa.

Long term, the goal for the company is to build a facility where it can run its aquaculture system.

“We’re working on fundraising right now and designing that facility,” Kimle said. “Once we have the two of those wrapped up we’ll start looking for a site that will be adequate for what we need.”

Kimle says the goal for the company is to be a model for how other aquaculture farms can operate more efficiently rather than being a farm itself.

“Our business model isn’t really focused on being a farm. Our goal here is to enable smaller scale production systems for farmers to be economically competitive because we can simplify the design,” Kimle said.

Kimle Aquaculture was recently accepted into the sixth cohort of the ISU Startup Factory.

“A lot of the mentors at the Startup Factory have a lot of experience on the strategic side of starting a business and that has been extremely helpful for us,” Kimle said.

Previous coverage

ISU Startup Factory announces twelve new teams for its sixth cohort -Jan. 23, 2019

Kimle Aquaculture is simplifying aquaculture production systems | 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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