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Ames startup Farmers Risk receives $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine

Ames-based startup Farmers Risk has received an initial $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine.

Farmers Risk’s mission is to democratize the tools available to help farmers manage risk and create more predictable revenue on the farm.

Farmers Risk has built software tools that consolidate core risk management decisions into a single source which makes understanding risk easy, efficient, and simple. Farms are often generational businesses and securing their financial future is part of broader family legacies. Farmers Risk wants to help farmers secure their legacy by creating more profitable farms and more predictable futures long term.

“We believe understanding risk on the farm is one of the most critical steps a farm can take to securing their long-term success and profitability,” said Farmers Risk founder and CEO, Dakota Hoben in a release. “Today, we are seeing unprecedented levels of volatility in commodity markets and it’s a challenge to navigate execution of an effective risk management strategy. At Farmers Risk, our vision is to cut through the noise and bring simplicity to a farmer’s risk management decision making that empowers them to take control of their farm’s legacy. Farmers often start from different places when it comes to their risk management strategies, but we believe every farmer can improve, so we are focused on helping every farmer take the next step in their journey.”

Ag Startup Engine was launched five years ago to help address two fundamental gaps that prevent agricultural startups and entrepreneurs from being more successful: early seed-stage investment and organized mentorship from successful entrepreneurs. With the program’s second fund, their goal is to accept and invest in 45 agriculture and animal health technology startups in the next five years. To date, the program has invested in 19 different companies.

Ag Startup Engine’s investment is part of a larger seed round of financing for Famers Risk. The company plans a beta launch with a limited group in the coming months with a wider rollout this winter.

Previous coverage

Ag Startup Engine raises second fund of $2.25 million to invest in startups over the next five years -Feb. 9, 2021

Ag Startup Engine announces two $50,000 investments -March 1, 2021

Ames startup Farmers Risk receives $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine | 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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