Ag-Tech Accelerator in Iowa Gets Backing from Deere, and DuPont Pioneer

Matthew Patane reported in today’s Des Moines Register that, “Two heavyweights in agriculture and major employers in Iowa are backing a new home for technology startups in their field.

“Equipment maker Deere & Co. and seed company DuPont Pioneer are two of four initial investors in an agriculture-technology accelerator, a startup development program slated for central Iowa.

“Farm insurer Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and Peoples Co., a land management and brokerage firm, have also signed on as investors.”

The Register article stated that, “All four companies will put up $100,000 each for the first year of the accelerator.”

Mr. Patane indicated that, “The Greater Des Moines Partnership announced the investors during the Farm Progress Show Tuesday.

The Partnership is basing the ag-tech accelerator on the Global Insurance Accelerator, a similar program based in Des Moines that hosted its first cohort in 2015. Both accelerators are intended to feed off of two of the region’s core industries: agriculture and financial services.”

Today’s article added that, “The ag-tech accelerator also hopes to tap into a growing field of startups and investment. Companies and investors nationwide have set their eyes on the sector.

“For instance, investments in food and agriculture-technology startups rose to $4.6 billion last year, according to AgFunder. In the first half of 2016, that number was $1.8 billion.”

In addition, the Register article noted that, “Iowa State University has already established an agricultural accelerator, Ag Startup Engine.

“Mike Colwell, who runs the Partnership’s entrepreneurial initiatives and helped organize both accelerators, said the investors will decide which startups enter the program. It will likely focus on hardware and software, he said.”

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