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Iowa AgriTech Accelerator Selects Five Start-Ups for Its 2019 Cohort
Launched in 2016 by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor, the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator is designed to build upon one of the area’s key industries – agriculture – as well as Greater Des Moines’ success in advancing start-ups and technology through its myriad resources. The program fosters innovation and helps central Iowa continue to be one of the top regions in the nation for start-up companies.
As it enters its third year, the accelerator has selected five ag tech start-ups for its 2019 program.
1. Otrafy. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Otrafy is building a data infrastructure to enable the seamless transfer of goods between different parties and jurisdictions. Its goal is to become the gold standard for authenticity and transparency in the food industry.
2. droneSAR. This Des Moines, Iowa, company develops radar imaging technology for commercial drones and small aircrafts that can sense below the crop canopy.
3. Vitalgia. From Heerlen, Netherlands, Vitalgia’s in-plant navigation system guides robots within a plant’s 3D structure, enabling robots to approach human performance of tasks on complex plants.
4. Raks Agricultural Technology. Based in São Leopoldo, Brazil, Raks Agricultural Technology has developed a system to improve irrigation control based on new TDR sensors to measure the soil moisture. All the information gathered is available on a web platform or mobile app.
5. FarmatroniX. A College Park, Maryland company, FarmatroniX wants to tackle the skilled labor shortage by providing growers an artificial intelligence system that can control the growing process without any human input.
“We’re excited to welcome a diverse group of start-ups from all over the world to central Iowa this summer,” notes Kerty Levy, interim executive director for the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator. "The accelerator will be a catalyzing experience for these entrepreneurs. Throughout their time in our program, they’ll gain valuable connections, constructive feedback from industry players, and a clearer path forward in their business pursuits.”
The program runs from June 3 to August 30, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. Participants will receive intensive mentoring, attend field trips to investor and mentor companies, and have access to outreach, networking, and presentation opportunities. Each start-up will also receive $40,000 in seed funding. Their time in central Iowa will allow them to collaborate with agriculture industry leaders and present their solutions to refine product market fit, perform customer discovery within the industry, and build strategic partnerships.
In October, the start-ups will return to Des Moines for the accelerator’s annual Demonstration Day. It will once again be hosted during the World Food Prize.
Support for the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator comes from some of the largest and most well-known ag tech and ag-related companies in Iowa including Corteva Agriscience, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corporation, John Deere, and Sukup Manufacturing. In addition, start-ups have access to a mentor pool of 130 agribusiness professionals who represent a majority of the ag supply chain.
To learn more about the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, visit agiowa.com.