News Release: INAUGURAL INNOVA $100,000 ROW CROP CHALLENGE POWERED BY AGLAUNCH CHOOSES NEW MACHINERY AS NEXT INVESTMENT
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (December 12, 2018) — After pitching in the final four, selected from a group of national applicants, Kopper Kutter was voted by a panel of farmers as the winner of the first Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch as part of the Farm Journal AgTech Expo last week.
Founded by three farmers in Kansas, Kopper Kutter makes ARRO™ (Alternate Rotary Rowcrop Option) head conversion kits for corn heads enabling harvesting of additional row crops including sorghum, milo, sunflowers, and millet, among others.
As part of the Innova Challenge, four new agtech startups competed for a chance to receive a $100,000 venture capital equity investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV, a USDA certified Rural Business Investment Company whose investors are eight Farm Credit banks. Teams pitched their company in front of an expert panel of farmers who determined which team received the investment.
AgLaunch’s interactive exhibits at the show included the AgLaunch Startup Station, the Emerging Technologies Isle, and featured the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge, as well as demonstrations from more than a dozen startup companies with innovations related to automation, robotics, soil analysis, input efficiency, new equipment, and farm management tools. These startups have received support from AgLaunch through various programs including the nationally-recognized AgLaunch365 accelerator and field trials through the AgLaunch farmer network. AgLaunch’s approach is yielding successful startup companies that are focused on the real needs of farmers.
Finalists for the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch were:
- Kopper Kutter: Kopper Kutter, LLC offers ARRO®(Alternator Rotary Rowcrop Option) conversion kits for cornheads so that they can reliably harvest sorghum, sunflowers, and many other crops.
- Rogo (formerly AgNext): The SmartCore by Rogo (formerly AgNext) uses a fully-autonomous robot that collects and packages soil samples with complete depth-, pattern- and location-consistency to give farmers more accurate soil data so they can make more profitable fertilizer decisions.
- SioTeX: SioTeX is an eco-friendly specialty chemical manufacturer that makes a pure biogenic amorphous silica from rice hulls. Agricultural customers use the silica as a high-quality soil amendment to protect plants from mites, fungus, and stress and to increase crop yields.
- Smart Farm Systems: Smart Farm Systems provides farmers with a precision irrigation monitoring and control system that allows them to apply just the right amount of water at just the right time on a field-by-field basis, conserving resources, improving crop yields and profitability.
AgLaunch showcased more than a dozen companies over the course of the expo at the AgLaunch Startup Station and in the Emerging Technology Isle including existing cohort companies: Cattlog, Newton RFID, Shepherd, Soil Nerd, and alumni companies Earthsense, Persiste
AgLaunch and its teams are supported by the following sponsors and partners: Innova Memphis, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Archer Malmo, CoBank, Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Credit Mid-America, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Baker Donelson, StartCo, Agricenter International, Ritter Agribusiness, Mid-South Family Farms, Growing Acres, and Ag Ventures Alliance.