Middle Bit: Maple Ventures welcomes droneSAR to its workspace

West Des Moines-based entrepreneurial support center Maple Ventures has welcomed droneSAR, an alum of the most recent Iowa Agritech Accelerator cohort.

Maple Ventures has been home to startups FarrPro, Hartsmart Products and MākuSafe Corp. Now, droneSAR is finding their new home in the Maple Ventures family.

We are excited to have droneSAR enter our Maple Ventures space,” said Hank Norem, President of Maple Ventures. “We hope to see them grow rapidly here while building their team and scaling their business.”

Maple Ventures offers a mutual value-add system by aligning itself with businesses that have the potential to grow into industry partners.

“The droneSAR team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in high-tech hardware and software, which aligns with the core of our business as an automation solutions provider,” said Norem. “They are a constant study of emerging technologies and methodologies related to machine-learning and artificial intelligence and works to push the boundaries of the industry.”

droneSAR brings radar sensing technology for drones to agriculture, to help growers gain insight into their crops to maximize yields by giving them valuable, actionable insights to their fields.

“After graduating from the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator program, we were looking for a small space that could support our engineering and business development efforts and was startup-friendly. We found that and so much more at Maple Ventures, said CEO and Founder Alan Langman. “They provide us with all the support functions to allow us to focus on bringing our product to our customers and you are surrounded by other great companies with amazing, kind, and supportive people.”

Iowa State AgEI and Ag Startup Engine hosting conference on Oct. 17 in Ames

Iowa State University’s Agriculture Entrepreneur Initiative (AgEl) is partnering together with Ag Startup to host a conference that will bring together entrepreneurs and agtech investors to discuss current and future challenges within the agtech industry.

The morning panel of the event titled, “Angry AgtechEntrepreneurs: Why is it so hard to fund my idea?” will have a wide range of agtech founders:

  • Casey Niemann, Founder of AgriSync
  • Steven Brockshus, CEO and founder of FarmlandFinder
  • Kyle McMahan, CEO and founder of Tractor Zoom
  • Michael Koenig, President of ScoutPro Inc.
  • Dr. Jenny Filbey, CEO and founder of Mazen Animal Health
  • Dr. Wayne Freese, President of Cambridge Technologies
  • Moderated by Joel Harris, Co-director of Ag Startup Engine

Kimle Aquaculture awarded $100,000 through a Wellmark Venture Capital Fund investment

Kimle Aquaculture has been awarded a $100,000 investment through the Wellmark Venture Capital Fund.

Founded in 2018, Iowa-based Kimle Aquaculture is developing a proprietary turnkey solution for indoor fish production. The technology aims to solve many challenges aquaculture producers face by simplifying facility design while increasing production and lowering producers’ operational and energy consumption costs.

The Wellmark investment will help finance a portion of construction and operating costs for a planned full-scale research and development shrimp demonstration production facility.

Kimle Aquaculture also received a $100,000 Demonstration Fund loan from the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board in September.

“Funding through Wellmark Venture Capital Fund and IEDA helps bring us one step closer to sustainable seafood production in Iowa,” said Jackson Kimle, co-founder and General Manager of Kimle Aquaculture. “The facility will allow our company to prove our systems’ performance at commercial scale and sell to future customers.”

The facility will allow Kimle Aquaculture to scale its production of shrimp and algae and secure purchase agreements for these products.

“We see a growing opportunity for aquaculture farming right here in Iowa,” Kimle said. “Our scalable, sustainable solution will help farmers looking to enter this niche market the chance to jump on the bandwagon, to reap the benefits of aquaculture farming’s broad market appeal and increase their profit margins.”