Iowa is the new home of a new startup business accelerator: Ag Tech Accelerator (The Accelerator). Four investors have provided funding for the initiative including DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, John Deere and Peoples Company. Each company has committed to providing $100,000 for the first year. The Accelerator was announced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Cultivation Corridor in a press conference during the Farm Progress Show.
Kathryn Kunert, Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration at MidAmerican Energy Company and Cultivation Corridor Officer said The Accelerator is modeled after the Global Insurance Accelerator and will build upon the one of the state’s key industries, agriculture. The new ag tech start-up program will be closely aligned with the goals of the Cultivation Corridor, launched in 2014, the home of many leading and start-up agbioscience, agritechnology, biorenewables, plant sciences and advanced manufacturing
“The Ag Tech Accelerator will assist with the Cultivation Corridor’s mission to support and sustain the science that feeds the world,” said Kathryn Kunert, Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration at MidAmerican Energy Company and Cultivation Corridor Officer. “The Cultivation Corridor relies on support from Central Iowa businesses, and I am pleased that key collaborators DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, John Deere and Peoples Company have committed to support the Ag Tech Accelerator.”
Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership added, “Today’s announcement is an example of Central Iowa celebrating its agricultural roots and leveraging that key industry into further global economic growth. Our state is at the top in so many areas in terms of agriculture, and The Accelerator will help ensure that we are a world leader for years to come.”
The four investors will have company representatives on the board, of which will select the first set of companies to participate in the program in 2017. Companies from around the world are encouraged to apply. If accepted, the start-ups will send team members to Iowa for 100 days where they will receive mentoring from experts who work in the ag industry’s leading companies.
“John Deere has long been dedicated to those who are linked to the land, and is always ready to embrace change that leads to new opportunities,” noted Lane Arthur, Deere Information Solutions Business Director. “Being able to support the continuing progress in the field of precision ag is important both here in Iowa, as well as around the world.”
Listen to the Ag Tech Accelerator press conference here: Ag Tech Accelerator Press Conference
Jeff Rowe, Vice President of Strategic Services and Planning at DuPont Pioneer said in his press conference remarks, “DuPont Pioneer strives to be on the cutting edge of farmer needs, anticipating challenges with innovative, sustainable solutions. We are excited to work with talented individuals of varying backgrounds and approaches to foster new ideas and technologies that will benefit growers.”
Ron Rutledge, President and CEO at Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, added, “As a company that began in Iowa over 123 years ago and is committed to remaining headquartered here, we feel that investing in startups and promoting agricultural innovation puts Iowa in the national spotlight and benefits a broad range of ag-related businesses throughout the state and region, “We have long supported innovation in the industry and we are proud to be one of the founding members of the Ag Tech Accelerator.”
And last but certainly not least, Steve Bruere, President of Peoples Company, rounded out the remarks by stressing, “Peoples Company believes strongly in the benefits of investing in new startups that will improve yields, sustain our environment and feed the world. We are hopeful that startups of today will help producers solve problems for years to come.”
The Accelerator is calling for additional ag companies to support the initiative. Those interested in investing should contact Mike Colwell.