man holding tablet in crop field
FOSTERING INNOVATION: Helping ag entrepreneurs get started in business is one of the goals of the AgriTech Accelerator program.

Iowa AgriTech Accelerator announces 2018 class

Five ag tech startups have been chosen to participate in this year’s program.

The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator has announced the five AgTech startups selected for the program’s class of 2018. The Accelerator, based in Des Moines, Iowa, is a mentor-led program focused on ag technology innovations.

Led by established innovators and leaders in several areas of agriculture, the program seeks startups ready to change the status quo. The five members of The Accelerator’s Class of 2018 are:

• U.S. Design Consultants, Osceola, Iowa. This startup has developed an innovative method of broadcasting granular products that addresses fundamental challenges and eliminates negative consequences attributed to conventional broadcast-dispensing equipment.

• AgHelp, Grand Rapids, Mich. The mobile platform is 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.

• BirdPreneur, Abeokuta, Nigeria. The one-stop-shop aviculture platform is focused on helping individuals and corporate organizations raise birds to increase meat and egg production across the value chain in Nigeria.

• VakSea, Baltimore, Md. Its novel oral vaccine delivery platform for aquaculture is designed to be more affordable and effective, and easier to deliver.

• Krobel Corp., Mankato, Minn. This startup developed a low-cost, easy-to-manufacture device that monitors the respiratory rate of an individual hog from nursing to finishing, which will help notify farmers of potentially sick animals. 

Provides funding, advice
“We received a number of great applicants from around the country and the world for the 2018 program,” 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 entrepreneurial scene to provide the startups the resources they need.”

The training and learning program will begin May 29 in Des Moines and end Aug. 30. The startups participating in the program will each receive intensive mentoring, along with $40,000 in funding. The training also includes field trips to investor and mentor companies, outreach, networking and presentation opportunities.

Visit them at Farm Progress Show
This year’s startups will have the opportunity to present their innovations and share their ideas at the nation’s largest outdoor farm show, the Farm Progress Show, Aug. 28-30 at Boone in central Iowa. It’s a chance for visitors to learn about these projects and ideas, and talk directly with the entrepreneurs. 

This year’s class will also present and explain their innovations at the annual Accelerator’s Demonstration Day on Oct. 16 during World Food Prize week in Des Moines.

The Accelerator has support from some of the largest ag technology companies in Iowa, including DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co., Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp., John Deere, Peoples Co. 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

Source: Iowa AgriTech Accelerator

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