AMES, Iowa (June 8, 2020) – The Iowa State University Startup Factory today announced that cohort eight team member FarmHand App has been awarded a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board for product refinement, market planning and entry activities and other expenses.

Farmhand App is a DeWitt-based startup with a mobile application that helps farmers to connect with qualified farm hands. The technology enables farmers to view a farm hand’s work experience and availability, review applications and handle all ongoing communications through an in-app messaging system.

“Now more than ever, addressing farm labor shortages and helping displaced workers find farm and ag-related jobs has reached a critical need if we are to secure our nation’s food supply,” FarmHand App Founder Michael Schaeffer said. “With this enabling $25,000 award from the IEDA Board, FarmHand App will be poised to expand its reach, connecting more farmers with job seekers, and workers with open jobs.”

Schaeffer said the startup’s farm labor solution provides a more efficient and cost-effective way to hire and manage farm hands. “And, the app enables job seekers to find the latest job opportunities in farming and agriculture that fit their location and interests. Positions can range from general farm labor, to trucking, custom field work, farm management and more,” he said.

Launched July 2019, Farmhand App already has gained over 2,600 active users and approximately 250 job postings.

Farmhand App is a cohort eight member of the Iowa State University (ISU) Startup Factory, a 52-week intensive program housed at the ISU Research Park. As a member of the program, the company receives formal training through a curriculum centered on business validation, customized mentoring, resources and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors and investors.

In this round, the IEDA Board approved awards for an Iowa legacy company located in Monroe County, which will assist in the creation of 14 jobs and result in $210 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved innovation funding in support of four startups located in Ames, Cedar Falls, and DeWitt.


About FarmHand App
FarmHand App, founded by Iowa-native Michael Schaeffer, is a mobile platform giving farmers the ability to connect with “farmhands” for day-to-day or seasonal employment. For more information, visit

About ISU Startup Factory
The Iowa State University (ISU) Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program housed at the ISU Research Park (ISURP). Entrepreneurs in the Startup Factory receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs. For more information on the ISU Startup Factory program, call 515-294-7444 or visit

About ISU Research Park
Established in 1987, the Iowa State University Research Park (ISURP) is a real estate development community closely affiliated with Iowa State University. ISURP assists both established and startup companies in connecting with Iowa State’s vast infrastructure to grow their enterprises; whether through students, research entities, equipment or a multitude of other resources. ISURP is currently home to 96 companies and research centers and 10 affiliates, employing 2,253 and 89 people, respectively, and occupies approximately 800,000 square feet of commercial real estate on 400 acres. For more information on ISURP, call 515-296-4204 or visit

Julie Lelonek, Iowa State University Startup Factory Communications

Iowa State University
Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations
1805 Collaboration Place
Ames, IA  50010