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Continuum Ag raises $475K round, partners with Rabobank on carbon sequestration program

Washington, Iowa based startup Continuum Ag has raised a $475,000 investment round led by Clean Energy Trust. Additional investors in the round include Ag Startup Engine and Ag Ventures Alliance.

Continuum Ag’s TopSoil is an online management platform where farmers can map out their fields and gather data to map soil health. TopSoil helps Farmers use technology like machine learning and real-time sensors in a palatable format. With that data, the company provides analytics and recommendations that empower farmers to make their own management decisions and implement action on their farms.

“The funding is going to continue to build out our team and our software offerings to help farmers profit from soil health,” said Mitchell Hora, founder and CEO of Continuum Ag.

“Topsoil helps farmers monetize and easily keep track of all their data. And then we help the farmer to connect that data with whatever offering they would like,” said Hora. “There are lots of companies doing sustainability stuff, lots of companies doing carbon programs. The farmers have a lot of options. We want to enable farmers to optimize how they’re using data in the most effective way possible.”

The company’s Topsoil platform currently has about 1100 farmers covering 38 states and 15 countries, Hora told Clay & Milk.

“The Continuum Ag team is committed first and foremost to helping farmers optimize their soil health. But they also fully recognize the massive climate opportunity that can — no, must — be seized by the farming community. Farmers hold the key to a very powerful negative emissions weapon, and Continuum Ag is well-positioned to facilitate its deployment,” wrote Paul Seidler in a blog post about investing in Continuum Ag.

Hora says he is planning to raise a larger investment round in early 2022 and hopes to at least double his team over the next 12-18 months.

Partnering on a new carbon sequestration program

Continuum Ag recently partnered with Rabo Carbon Bank on a carbon sequestration and soil health pilot program. Participating farmers will receive compensation for implementing regenerative agricultural practices that enrich their fields’ soils while capturing carbon from the air. The initiative enrolled five farmers this year in a pilot program, and it will be enrolling 10 farmers next year.

“Rabobank was wanting to connect with more farmers and our farmers were wanting to connect with companies like Rabobank,” said Hora. “So we are kind of a catalyst in the middle and are, with Rabobank specifically, helping their farmers get the correct agroeconomic advice and data tools that they need to successfully sequester carbon and build out a new asset that a marketplace can be built around.”

Continuum Ag will consult with each individual farmer in the pilot and provide tailored practices for soil health and carbon sequestration. 

Previous coverage

Continuum Ag receives $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine and Ag Ventures Alliance -Nov. 12, 2020

Continuum Ag is offering soil health solutions at scale -Nov. 6, 2019

Continuum Ag named “best of show” in ISU pitch competition -Aug. 19, 2019

Continuum Ag raises $475K round, partners with Rabobank on carbon sequestration program | 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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