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FarmlandFinder acquired by New York-based EasyKnock

Des Moines startup FarmlandFinder announced today that it has been acquired by EasyKnock, a residential sale-leaseback platform based in New York.

EasyKnock allows American homeowners to convert their equity to cash by selling the property to EasyKnock while remaining in the home they love as a renter. The acquisition will allow EasyKnock to expand its services to a broader audience. Earlier this month, the company ranked No. 568 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list.

“FarmlandFinder is an innovative platform addressing challenges of U.S. farmers,” said Jarred Kessler, founder and CEO of EasyKnock in a release. “Today’s acquisition brings FarmlandFinder’s platform and expertise to EasyKnock, strengthening our offering and our commitment to providing new ways for homeowners and now landowners to convert their equity to cash.”

Launched in 2016 by Steven Brockshus, FarmlandFinder is an online marketplace for agricultural real estate that offers a suite of tools to help land professionals with farmland acquisition, valuation, and analysis.

“We’re thrilled to continue to build our offering as part of the EasyKnock team,” said Brockshus. “The addition of our rural farmland offering with EasyKnock’s products, platform, and reach is a powerful new option for more Americans looking for liquidity.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Previous coverage

FarmlandFinder announces online farm sale-leaseback program -Feb. 12, 2021

FarmlandFinder raises $3 million -Dec. 3, 2019

FarmlandFinder wins American Farm Bureau’s Ag Innovation Challenge -Jan. 15, 2019

FarmlandFinder expands product to 12 states -Jan. 7, 2019

FarmlandFinder acquired by New York-based EasyKnock | 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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