The ASE was created to help address two fundamental gaps that prevent agricultural startups and entrepreneurs from being more successful in Iowa: early seed stage investment and organized mentoring from successful Iowans. It recently announced that Next Level Ventures and Peoples Company have pledged support, joining Ag Ventures Alliance, Summit Agricultural Group, and Ag Leader Technologies. While ISU’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative assisted in the creation and development of the ASE, it is a private-sector entity governed by its investors.
“Startups need a range of services from legal, financial, and marketing professionals to be successful,” said Kevin Kimle, director of ISU’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, which helped launch the Ag Startup Engine. "The support from Iowa firms in these areas is an important contributor to building a vibrant ecosystem for agricultural entrepreneurs.”
“Davis Brown Law Firm is committed to fostering innovation and growing the Central Iowa economy,” said Jason Stone, shareholder at Davis Brown. “ISU and the Ag Startup Engine are uniquely situated to fulfill that mission, and Davis Brown is grateful for having been selected as lead counsel for ASE efforts.”
“There is excitement in the air about startups and entrepreneurs in Iowa,” said Paul Juffer, managing partner at LWBJ. “We are thrilled to support local innovation through the Ag Startup Engine at Iowa State University. We look forward to its many future successes.”
“Our team at LS2group has had the privilege to work with a number of agriculture and technology innovators over the years,” said Chuck Larson, partner at LS2group. “We look forward to raising the profile of burgeoning Iowa entrepreneurs, and supporting the critical mission of the Ag Startup Engine.”
The ASE will provide ISU agricultural entrepreneurs a structured means of moving from a startup concept to an investment-ready business. Working in tandem with ISU’s Startup Factory, the program will implement an infrastructure for mentoring, rapid prototyping, product development, financing, and customer acquisition.
“Speaking from my own startup experience, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have the guidance of seasoned legal, accounting, and public relations partners to help grow your business,” said Joel Harris, co-director of the Ag Startup Engine. “The ASE will provide critical elements that are often lacking for entrepreneurs in Iowa – a truly systematized pathway for financing and growing a business. The firms announced today can add tremendous value not only to the Ag Startup Engine, but also the ASE’s portfolio companies.”
The ASE aims to continue growing its portfolio of quality investors. Completion of the investor group and the ASE’s organizational structure will take place in the coming months.
About Davis Brown
Founded in 1929, Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts, P.C., provides comprehensive legal services to clients ranging from private individuals to Fortune 500 corporations, as well as multinational corporations, not-for-profit groups, the state and its agencies and political subdivisions, hospitals and regulated industries. The firm's clients conduct business on a local, state, national and international basis.
LWBJ is one of the Midwest's leading CPA, business advisory, and M&A firms. We deliver a broad range of tax, accounting, consulting, and investment banking capabilities to serve businesses and individuals.
Founded in 2006, LS2group (Larson Shannahan Slifka Group) is a bipartisan public relations, government affairs, public affairs, event management, and marketing firm headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, with team members located across the Midwest and in Washington, D.C. LS2group was named “Best Public Relations Firm,” “Best Advertising Agency,” and “Best Small Company with a Bright Future” by the Des Moines Business Record in 2016, and one of America’s fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine on the 2016 “Inc. 5,000 List.”
About the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative was created in 2005 to broaden understanding of entrepreneurship among faculty and students of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State by providing educational experiences to develop students’ entrepreneurial skills and increase interaction among students, faculty and agricultural entrepreneurs.