AMES, Iowa, July 31, 2018 – Ag Startup Engine (ASE) announced that it has made an initial investment in Des Moines based agricultural technology startup Tractor Zoom. Tractor Zoom is an online marketplace that connects farm equipment auctioneers and buyers.
The Ag Startup Engine effort was launched nearly three years ago to address two fundamental gaps that prevent agricultural startups and entrepreneurs from being more successful in Iowa: early seed stage investment and organized mentorship from successful Iowan and Midwestern entrepreneurs.
Tractor Zoom joins six other AgTech startups – automed, FarmlandFinder, Performance Livestock Analytics, Nebullam, Gross-Wen Technologies, and Smart Ag – as a portfolio company in the Ag Startup Engine Fund. ASE aims to provide agricultural entrepreneurs a structured means of moving from a concept to a seed-ready business. Working in partnership with ISU’s Startup Factory Accelerator, the program has an infrastructure for mentoring, rapid prototyping, product development, customer acquisition, and financing.
“The progress of Tractor Zoom, from entry into the third cohort of ISU’s Startup Factory Accelerator 3rd Cohort to the present acceptance into the Ag Startup Engine, is very impressive,” said Kevin Maher, codirector of ASE. “We are excited to help support the continued growth of Tractor Zoom’s unique farm machinery auction platform for agri-business.”
Co-director Joel Harris added, “In addition, we are very excited that our most recent two investments, automed (originally from Australia) and Tractor Zoom (based in Des Moines), show Ag Startup Engine’s ability to cement Ames, Iowa as the center of the AgTech universe.”
Tractor Zoom will be adding to their Iowa team as well as growing into agricultural regions outside of the Corn Belt.
“We’re looking forward to working closely with the Ag Startup Engine as we expand on features to support a superior shopping experience, introduce new products into the market, and broaden our footprint in North America,” said Kyle McMahon, Tractor Zoom CEO.
“Tractor Zoom is taking a fresh approach to how they’re helping auctioneers get in front of more of the right buyers in the agricultural industry,” says David Whitaker, CEO of Whitaker Marketing Group. “They’ve created an attractive search engine of farm equipment for sale at auction, and made it easy for those sales to be discoverable by buyers looking for specific equipment in the market.”
Over the next two years, the ASE hopes to add four to eight more agriculture technology startups like automed and Tractor Zoom to the portfolio, ranging from animal health to precision agriculture.