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Rantizo becomes first company fully licensed for drone spraying in 10 states

Lask week Rantizo, an agtech drone spraying startup, added 5 more states to its list of eligible operations. With the latest approvals, the Rantizo footprint has grown beyond the Midwest, spanning into eastern and southern states as well.

The Iowa City agtech startup is now licensed and approved to provide drone spraying services in 10 states across the country. 

In July, Rantizo became the first and only company approved for drone spraying in the state of Iowa. Shortly thereafter, expansion into Wisconsin occurred. Just a few weeks following that, Nebraska, Illinois, and Minnesota were added to the approved territories. Now the company has added South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Louisiana, and Missouri to areas its approved and intends to operate within.

Arizona, Oregon and California are expected to be approved in the near future.

A map of the states Rantizo is now approved for agricultural drone spraying. (Photo courtesy of Rantizo).

Rantizo CEO, Michael Ott says that having a solid plan before embarking on state by state approvals has been crucial to the company’s rapid expansion across the U.S.

“We have been diligent in working with the FAA and states for necessary licensing,” said Ott. “As a market leader in this space, it has been important to us to go through the proper channels to ensure the sustainability of drone spraying for the agricultural industry.”

With each state that Rantizo has added to their approved territory, new opportunities have come along as well

“Growers of everything from cotton to lettuce, watermelons to sorghum have looked at Rantizo as a solution for their fields,” said Rantizo Marketing Lead Emily Carlson. “Our team has been on the road and all over the country in the past several weeks and each time we reconvene it’s exciting to learn about new opportunities on the horizon.”

Last month, Rantizo won the 2019 John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition and was awarded $40,000.

“Getting into new states outside of our immediate backyard is part of our strategy,” Ott said. “Now we are not only in multiple states, but we’ve begun to represent Rantizo drone spraying as a viable option for growers in multiple regions across the country as well.”

This week, Rantizo is in Memphis, Tennessee for the Startup of the Year Summit as one the 100 Semifinalists for the 2019 Startup of the Year.

Previous coverage

Rantizo wins 2019 Pappajohn Pitch Competition, takes home $40,000 -Sept. 12, 2019

Rantizo becomes first Iowa company approved to use drones for crop spraying -July 19, 2019

Rantizo is bringing drone technology to the ag industry -Oct. 15, 2018

Rantizo becomes first company fully licensed for drone spraying in 10 states | 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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