Industrial startups see growth through Maple Ventures

The FarrPro and MakuSafe offices at Maple Ventures located in West Des Moines. (Photo courtesy of Maple Ventures).

Maple Ventures opened its doors last August with a mission to provide support to industrial technology startups, allowing them to focus on innovation and product advancement.

Since its launch last year, the startups involved have seen some major growth and changes. Initial startups, including FarrPro, MakuSafe and HartSmart Products, have either achieved their goal of opening a new facility on their own or have significantly grown their business within Maple Venture’s structure.

“The energy and excitement that startups and early-stage companies bring to Maple Ventures and our core business, Ramco Innovations, is electric,” said Hank Norem, CEO of Ramco Innovations and founder of Maple Ventures. “We thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to meet and work with innovators who are looking to bring high-tech products to the market.”

In addition to supporting industrial startups directly, Maple Ventures also serves as a training center and event space. Ag Manufacturing & Technology, the AgriTech Accelerator and 1 Million Cups have all used Maple Venture’s event space. Maple Ventures has also hosted events and workshops for area agencies such as CIRAS and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

On Wednesday, July 17, Maple Ventures will be holding multiple events. 1 Million Cups Des Moines will be hosting its weekly event beginning at 7:30 am. Then, the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator will host its Manufacturing Panel at 10:30 am.

Here’s a look at the startups who’ve seen success with Maple Ventures so far:

FarrPro

FarrPro, an Iowa City-based agtech startup, began its relationship with Maple Ventures via remote administrative services. Before long the company grew into a Maple Ventures workspace and warehouse use.

FarrPro creates solutions for livestock producers who want to improve the health, welfare, and quality of life of their animals. Their flagship product focuses on keeping piglets warm and healthy as they grow.

“Maple Ventures and the Ramco team were exactly what we needed after we graduated from the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator program,” said Amos Peterson, co-founder of FarrPro. “As we look forward to moving into our new manufacturing facility, we do so with confidence that this transition is coming at the right time – confidence we gained by working with the Maple team to develop our product and scale our operations.”

Late last month, FarrPro won the 2019 National Hog Farmer New Product Tour “Producer’s Choice” Award with their Haven product.

“The support Hank and his team have given us has, in many ways, kept us on track and in line with our projections during a critical phase in our company’s development,” said Peterson. “Our partnership with Maple also facilitated fundraising by reassuring our investors that we had the operational support needed to bring a complex hardware product to market.”

HartSmart Products

HartSmart Products first connected with Maple Ventures by hosting a monthly meetup in the training center. The 3D-printing startup then progressed to utilizing Maple Ventures’ office space as well as its shipping receiving capabilities. Since then, HartSmart Products has moved on to its own facility after experiencing growth.

“Maple Ventures gave me the external visibility my business needed and helped me gain the perspective I needed to proceed,” said Brandon Hart, founder of HartSmart Products. “Being able to utilize the administrative services they provide was invaluable. I was able to start making decisions based on the numbers instead of just trusting my gut. I would not be moving HartSmart Products into its own shop without the support of Maple Ventures this past year.”

MakuSafe

MakuSafe is an insurtech startup that uses a wearable device and a proprietary software program to help keep industrial workers safer on the job.

The company started working with Maple Ventures through administrative services, then moved into an office space that allowed them to expand their team.

In February, MakuSafe closed its seed round, raising nearly $3 million.

“One unexpected benefit of being inside of Maple Ventures is how much it has helped with our customer prospects and investors,” said Gabriel Glynn, CEO and co-founder of MakuSafe They see the resources that are at our disposal to help us grow and it provides instant credibility.”

Previous coverage

Maple Ventures: an entrepreneur center for industrial startups -Aug. 21, 2018

MākuSafe raises nearly $3 million seed round -Feb.14, 2019

HartSmart Products is providing 3D printing services to Iowans -Oct. 24, 2018

Startup Stories: FarrPro CEO Amos Peterson on saving baby pigs -March 22, 2018