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Rantizo partners with Sony on agtech collaboration
Iowa City-based startup Rantizo has been named one of four agtech companies partnering with Sony Electronics to integrate its Smart Agriculture Solution into its farming solutions.  Sony's Smart Agriculture Solution revolves around a combination of sophisticated dual camera technology and analytics software, designed to support day-to-day crop management by collecting and analyzing growth data. Version 2.0 combines high-resolution drone…
Cedar Rapids agtech company acquired by Omaha ethanol producer
Cedar Rapids-based Fluid Quip Technologies has been acquired by Omaha-based ethanol manufacturer Green Plains Inc. Green Plains announced Tuesday it acquired majority interest in Fluid Quip, which develops new technologies and processes for the biofuels and biochemical industries, as part of a joint transaction with Ospraie Management, according to a news release. With growing interest in the protein…
Middle Bit: Growers Edge wins Agtech Finance Solution of the Year award
Growers Edge, a provider of data-driven financial technology solutions for the agricultural industry, has won the 2020 AgTech Finance Solution of the Year. Run by AgTech Breakthrough, a market intelligence organization, the inaugural AgTech Breakthrough Awards program recognizes innovative companies, technologies, and products in a range of agricultural and food technology categories. “Generally, farmers and some…
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,…
Rantizo receives FAA approval to operate drone swarms
Iowa City-based startup Rantizo has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for operation of multiple drone swarms nationwide. This allows Rantizo to operate three autonomous drone sprayers by a single pilot and one visual observer.  “Our vision is to Fly & Apply on large areas with autonomous drone sprayers, so swarming is…
Iowa AgriTech Accelerator announces four startups for 2020 cohort
The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator has announced the five agtech startups selected for the program’s class of 2020. Based in Des Moines, the accelerator is a mentor-led program that focuses on ag-based technology innovations. This year’s class is the fourth to go through the 100-day program. Two Ames-based companies — N-Sense and Curiosity Labs — made this year's…
PowerPollen closes $13 Million Series B round
PowerPollen, an agtech company focused on improving agricultural productivity through improved pollination, has successfully closed a $13 million Series B funding round. The Ankeny-based company will use the funding to accelerate global adoption of its pollination on-demand technology in corn seed production and expand innovation to corn grain, wheat, and rice. The round will…
New FarrPro trial shows 20% reduction in mortality of piglets
FarrPro, an Iowa City-based agtech startup, has released the results of the second independent trial of its flagship Haven product. The results of the trial showed reductions in both pre-wean mortality (20.6 %) and energy use (68%) compared to the heat lamp control. The trial was conducted in Illinois by Carthage Innovative Swine Solutions, the…
Corteva Agriscience announces 2030 sustainability goals
Corteva Agriscience announced earlier this month a list of sustainability goals the company plans to achieve by 2030. The list includes 14 goals that span a wide range of initiatives for farmers, the land, communities where employees and customers live and work, and in its own operations. "Our mission to lead the entire agriculture…
AgriSync acquired by John Deere
Waukee startup AgriSync announced this week that it has been acquired by John Deere. Founded in 2015, AgriSync is a customer service platform for ticketing and remote support built specifically for ag businesses and equipment dealers. AgriSync has provided an FAQ with more details about the acquisition for its current customers who have questions about…
Growers Edge Closes $40 Million Series B round
Growers Edge has announced the close of a $40 million Series B round of financing to accelerate the development of its financial technology products, solutions, and tools for the ag industry. Based in Johnston, Iowa, the company has pulled together a range of fintech and analytics tools. The system combines data from local growers,…
Nebullam expands deliveries to Iowa City and Coralville
Indoor farming startup Nebullam has expanded its services to Iowa City and Coralville the company announced this week. Nebullam was founded in 2017, with a focus on improving indoor farming technologies. Today, Nebullam owns and operates its flagship indoor farm and corporate headquarters within the Iowa State University Research Park. The company's first delivery to…
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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 mpatane@clayandmilk.com.
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