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Rantizo partners with Sony on agtech collaboration

Iowa City-based startup Rantizo has been named one of four agtech companies partnering with Sony Electronics to integrate its Smart Agriculture Solution into its farming solutions. 

Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution revolves around a combination of sophisticated dual camera technology and analytics software, designed to support day-to-day crop management by collecting and analyzing growth data. Version 2.0 combines high-resolution drone imagery with artificial intelligence for a more accurate and efficient approach to plant counting and analysis. 

Rantizo uses drones to deliver agricultural inputs, including liquid and dry solutions, in fields precisely where and when they are needed. 

According to Sony, the company’s Smart Agriculture Solution provides imagery on areas in need of spraying, and the Rantizo system sprays only those designated areas. 

“We are excited to work with a world-class organization like Sony and are impressed with the speed of their system,” said Rantizo CEO Michael Ott said in an announcemt. “Faster processing leads to nimble systems that can adapt to the ever-changing agricultural environment. With our combined expertise, Rantizo and Sony can determine field issues and deploy the necessary ag inputs to treat problems and maximize yield.” 

The other three agtech startups partnering with Sony are Drones Made Easy, BirdsEyeView Aerobotics and Progeny Drone Inc.

Previous coverage

Rantizo named finalist for Ag Professional 2019 New Product of the Year -Dec. 16, 2019

Rantizo becomes first company fully licensed for drone spraying in 10 states -Oct. 15, 2019

Rantizo partners with Sony on agtech collaboration | 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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