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Ag Startup Engine invests $50,000 in Haber Technologies

 Ag Startup Engine has made an initial investment of $50,000 in Ames based startup Haber Technologies, a company founded by a pair of Iowa State University alumni which is commercializing grain bin drying technology to eliminate post-harvest loss.

“This seed round will allow us to bring Haber fully into the market, to commercialize the technology which, last year, we proved works,” said Dillon Hurd, co-founder and CEO of Haber. “We’re very thankful for all our partners and participants and are excited to join the Ag Startup Engine.”

With its innovative grain bin drying system, the DRI-Stack, Haber reduces damage and spoilage once corn is harvested. Their system will allow farmers to harvest earlier, reduce utility costs, increase corn grade and longevity, increase safety, and make drying a faster process.

“Haber is deploying a technology that will keep stored grain in better shape at less cost. It’s a compelling value proposition and we’re excited to provide help in moving it to the marketplace,” said Kevin Kimle, co-director of Ag Startup Engine.

Over the next year, Ag Startup Engine plans to add up to three more agtech startups like Haber Technologies to its portfolio ranging from animal health to precision agriculture.

This is the thirteenth company Ag Startup Engine has invested in since it launched nearly three years ago. Over the next year, Ag Startup Engine says it plans to add up to three more agtech startups like Haber to its portfolio, ranging from animal health to precision agriculture.

Previous coverage

Ag Startup Engine makes initial investment in Sentinel -Jan. 29, 2020

Ag Startup Engine makes initial investment in VetMeasure -June 11, 2019

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Ag Startup Engine invests $50,000 in Haber Technologies | 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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