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Rantizo raises $7.5 million Series A Round

Iowa City-based agtech company Rantizo announced today it has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Leaps by Bayer and several agtech investors and strategic partners including Fall Line Capital, Innova Memphis, Lewis & Clark Ventures, KZValve, and Sukup Manufacturing. Additional participants in the round include ISA Ventures, AgVentures Alliance and other angels, which brings Rantizo’s total funding raised to date to nearly $9 million.

Founded in 2018, Rantizo has developed a platform that integrates with imagery companies to identify issues and deliver precise in-field applications with autonomous drones.

In July of 2019, Rantizo received initial FAA approval for single drone spraying operations becoming the first and only company approved for drone spraying in the state of Iowa. Less than a year later, the company became the first to gain approval for nationwide swarming for agricultural spraying, flying up to three drones at once.

Farmers can request Rantizo drone application services such as precise spraying and cover crop broadcasting. To fulfill those requests, a nationwide network of Rantizo Application Services Contractors are provided with a turnkey system in which they purchase drone equipment through Rantizo and gain all licensing, training, and certifications necessary to legally begin drone spraying operations.

Michael Ott, CEO of Rantizo, speaks with Eric Engelmann about raising venture capital in Iowa during a 1MC Cedar Rapids Fireside Chat.

Currently, Rantizo service providers are primarily focused in the Midwest and can be found from the west coast to as far east as Pennsylvania. Expanding Rantizo’s contractor network into additional geographies is a key purpose for the funding round according to CEO, Michael Ott who stated that the 2020 season saw a drastic uptick in business.

“This year, Rantizo received requests from growers and individuals all over the country looking for drone application services,” said Ott. “We did our best to fulfill those and realize that we need to continue to expand our network. We want to make sure we have Rantizo Application Services providers in place to keep up with demand. Securing this funding is a crucial piece of that strategy.”

Beyond Rantizo’s contractor expansion, Ott says that the raised funds will be used to bring on additional team members needed to ramp up technology development for projects related to crop pollination, data management, and automation of the entire drone application process.

Previous coverage

Rantizo receives FAA approval to operate drone swarms -July 7, 2020

Rantizo is using drone technology to sanitize stadiums -April 28, 2020

Rantizo partners with Sony on agtech collaboration -March 25, 2020

Rantizo raises $7.5 million Series A 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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