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Iowa AgriTech Accelerator Chooses Start-Ups for 2018 Class

The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, based in Des Moines, Iowa, recently introduced the five ag tech start-ups chosen for its 2018 class. This year’s class, which will be the second group to go through the 100-day program, will receive mentoring and engage with ag innovators in the region. In addition, each start-up will receive $40,000 in seed funding.

Launched in 2016 by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor, the cohort is designed to build upon one of the state’s key industries – agriculture – and the entrepreneurial activity that can advance technology in the industry.

Here are the five start-ups:

  1. U.S. Design Consultants (Osceola, Iowa) has developed an innovative method of broadcast dispensing granular products that addresses fundamental challenges and eliminates negative consequences attributed to conventional broadcast dispensing equipment. 
  2. AgHelp (Grand Rapids, Michigan) is a mobile platform designed to address the agricultural labor shortage with a holistic approach. The app connects ag employers with available local labor, source labor and support services nationally at a fraction of the cost of what is currently available. 
  3. BirdPreneur (Abeokuta, Nigeria) is a one-stop shop aviculture platform focused on helping individuals and corporate organizations raise birds to increase meat and egg production across the value chain in Nigeria. 
  4. VakSea (Baltimore, Maryland) is a novel oral vaccine delivery platform for aquaculture designed to be more affordable, more effective, and easier to deliver. 
  5. Krobel Corp (Mankato, Minnesota) is developing a low-cost, easy-to-manufacture device that monitors the respiratory rate of a hog from nursing to finishing, which will help farmers identify potentially sick animals. 

“We received a number of great applicants from around the country and the world,” says Megan Vollstedt, executive director for The Accelerator. “We look forward to welcoming this year’s cohort to central Iowa, where we will offer our local strengths and expertise in the ag tech industry and the region’s growing entrepreneuerial scene to provide the start-ups the resources they need.” 

The program will begin May 29, 2018, in Des Moines’ historic East Village and conclude on August 30, 2018. The start-ups will receive intensive mentoring, $40,000 in seed funding, field trips to investor and mentor companies, outreach, and networking. In addition, each company will have a variety of presentation opportunities including demonstrating their innovations at one of the nation’s largest outdoor farm shows this summer. Each start-up will also present at the Accelerator’s Demonstration Day, which will once again be hosted during the World Food Prize on October 16, 2018. 

The Accelerator has support from some of the largest and well-known ag tech companies in Iowa, including DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corporation, John Deere, Peoples Company and Sukup Manufacturing, in addition to a mentor pool of 120 agribusiness professionals who represent a majority of the ag supply chain. 

To learn more about the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, visit agiowa.com

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