Geoff's Blog: Ag startups

Every Wednesday Geoff publishes "The Pull", a digest of the top news for the Iowa innovation community that week. The following is the introduction to Issue #147.

I've been a judge at a lot of pitch competitions and my favorites ones always involve students. Usually these are business students or others on campus who have found their way into the entrepreneurial programming offered by business schools. For the first time, last week, I had the chance to judge student pitches for an "Entrepreneurship in Agriculture" class at Iowa State and I didn't know what to expect. It was great! Despite growing up in Iowa (or maybe because I grew up in Iowa) I've never embraced agriculture but I've recently had my eyes opened to the possibilities in the ag-tech market for the Iowa startup community and I'm excited to see it develop.

I was telling a friend about the experience at ISU and he mentioned that some venture capitalists had recently told him that they really like ag-tech deals "because they're always solving a real problem—they never create a technology just for the fun of it". Based on what I've seen in Ames and other places, I think there's a lot of truth to that line of thought.

Thanks to Kevin Kimle and ISU's Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative for the opportunity!