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Growers Edge Secures $5 Million Debt Facility from Silicon Valley Bank

Growers Edge announced last week that it has raised a $5 million venture debt facility through California-based Silicon Valley Bank.

Based in Johnston, Iowa, Growers Edge has pulled together a range of fintech and analytics tools. The system combines data from local growers, agtech vendors, and insurance partners including financial data; agtech field data; grower history; and lending data. That mashup of information is then pushed through the Growers Edge platform to help identify profit opportunities for ag retailers and farmers.

The company plans to use the funding to continue to build its tech stack and bring in sales, development, and data analytics talent.

Growers Edge currently has more than 30 full-time employees and plans to be approaching 50 full-time employees by the end of 2021, Growers Edge CEO Dan Cosgrove told Clay & Milk. The company is currently hiring for multiple positions including a Data Scientist and an Actuarial Data Scientist.

“Anytime you get an investment from a more traditional venture firm, they expect a lot of return and they take a significant amount of equity for that investment,” said Cosgrove. “This venture debt has some equity associated with it but primarily is a loan. So it allows us to grow quickly without further diluting our equity or our cap table.”

The announcement comes less than one year after Growers Edge completed a $40 million Series B round in July 2020.

“We are positioning Growers Edge more and more to be a fintech company so this partnership with Silicon Valley Bank opens up a lot of opportunities for us,” said Cosgrove.

Previous coverage

Growers Edge Closes $40 Million Series B round -July 9, 2020

Middle Bit: Growers Edge wins Agtech Finance Solution of the Year award -Sept. 11, 2020

Growers Edge Secures $5 Million Debt Facility from Silicon Valley Bank | 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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