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Pitchly completes $2.5 million investment round

Des Moines-based Pitchly has successfully completed a $2.5 million investment round, which will be used to drive customer growth and expand product capability.

The investment was led by Next Level Ventures, with participation from Great North Labs, Twelve19 Ventures, Wellmark, and Nelnet Ventures.

“We now have the opportunity to aggressively grow our user base and deliver our next generation product to meet the diverse needs of our customers, including our traditional sectors of law and professional services and new sectors like technology,” said Ryan Gerhardy, CEO of Pitchly.

Pitchly’s raise came to a pause in March due to COVID-19, however, Gerhardy said that the process of raising during a pandemic boosted confidence in the value of Pitchly’s offering.

“We were kind of mid-raise in March when progress stopped and really what it did for us was, investor conversations shifted from the typical ‘growth at all costs’ to ‘let’s look at revenue, let’s look at customers’ which were very good for us,” said Gerhardy.

“If we back a year ago, we had the same vision but we’ve got better language to describe it now. We’re building a better infrastructure for our enterprise customers to adopt our product across their whole business. And I think that’s exciting because our goal is to really grow deeper into our customers.”

Previous coverage

Pitchly to hold Premiere Party as it expands into new sectors -Aug. 21, 2019

Pitchly & MakuSafe receive investments from Best of the Midwest meeting -Dec. 18, 2018

Pitchly completes seven-figure seed investment round -Aug. 21, 2018

Pitchly completes $2.5 million investment round | 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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