Start-Up Spotlight: Tractor Zoom
When Kyle McMahon was in the market for a Kinze planter, he subscribed to print newspapers to gain access to their classified and sale sections. He also searched the websites of 30 to 40 auctioneers weekly.
“The process was time-consuming and inefficient,” he says. “After talking to other farmers, I realized most of them were struggling with this issue, as well.”
That’s when the southeast Iowa native decided the system needed to be fixed. “Farmers had to have access to a more comprehensive listing of farm equipment at auction that was easy to browse and search,” explains McMahon. “Auctioneers needed an easy-to-use and more visually appealing solution to advertise their auctions to qualified buyers.”
researching a solution
Interviewing over 300 farmers and nearly 40 auction companies, McMahon developed Tractor Zoom in direct response to the issues buyers and sellers were encountering.
“Our research showed farmers were spending an average of 50+ hours per year searching for farm equipment,” he explains. “It also revealed auctioneers were spending approximately 75% of their advertising budgets on print, while 75% of their buyers were looking online. The major disconnect led to an inefficient marketplace.”
Launched as a mobile app in 2017, Tractor Zoom is free to buyers and is available in the Apple and Google Play stores. In February 2018, a web version was unveiled. The start-up has seen traffic to the site steadily increase, as well as continued growth on mobile app downloads.
“There are currently 109 auction companies using our technology, and that number is growing,” says McMahon.
Since it began, Tractor Zoom has seen over 16,000 items listed for sale.
casting a wider net
With more than 172 years of combined experience in the auction business, the Iowa Auction Group (IAG) has been using Tractor Zoom since its inception.
“In 2017, we formed IAG to keep up with the changing use of technology in our business, as well as combine each of our strengths,” says Kevin Cone, an auctioneer for 35 years and one of the group’s five founding members.
Adopting technology like Tractor Zoom is also a part of that change. “The current generation of farmers is in tune with technology, so we are adapting to that future,” he says. “It has helped us connect with even more potential buyers.”
Specializing in ag land and machinery, the team (iowaauctiongroup.com) also handles personal property, antiques, collectibles, business liquidations, and real estate.
“We all have extensive backgrounds in agriculture, and three of us actively farm,” Cone says. “We feel we have all of the attributes necessary to take care of anyone’s auction needs in the most powerful and successful way.”
continue to adapt
Looking to the future, the start-up will continue to focus on providing the farm equipment auction arena with valuable shopping tools to help the entire industry.
“As one of the first modern platforms available for this market, we’re building in new functionality in a way that our customers will want to use,” says McMahon. “We’ll also iterate and improve Tractor Zoom as we receive feedback from farmers and auctioneers, and as new advances in technology are released.”
“We are impressed with Tractor Zoom’s vision of the future,” says Cone. “I believe the platform will continue to grow to be a big player in the industry.”
About the Company
Company: Tractor Zoom
Founder: Kyle McMahon
Headquarters: West Des Moines, Iowa
Background: After the time-consuming and inefficient process of searching for a planter, Kyle McMahon realized others must be struggling with this issue, as well. Deciding that the market needed a solution, he developed Tractor Zoom, an online platform that connects farm equipment auctioneers with farmers. “This platform is for anyone looking to buy at a farm equipment auction and for auctioneers looking to get more eyes of qualified buyers on their auctions,” says McMahon.
Funding: The business is privately funded.