Building an Ecosystem for Agtech Startups

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Date
2018-03-19
Authors
Kimle, Kevin
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract

Technology is nothing new, of course, whether in agriculture of any other industry. What may be new is the speed and scale at which technology can shape new opportunities and disrupt existing businesses and industries. Agtech is by all indications important. There are many accelerator programs related to starting agtech businesses, funding of agtech startups has grown, etc. Funding for agtech startups has increased significantly. As tracked by AgFunder News, investment in agtech increased from about $150 million in 2010 to more than $800 million in 2016 and more than $500 million in 2017. Transactions like Monsanto buying Climate Corp in 2013 for $930 million or in 2017 DuPont Pioneer buying Granular for $300 million certainly got attention of investors, entrepreneurs and agricultural business professionals. Both Climate and Granular were founded in Silicon Valley, the hub for tech startups and investing. Will there be a Climate or Granular type exit event for an agtech startup from the Heartland? Is there an ecosystem for agtech startups apart from Silicon Valley? A 2017 report from M25 examined the Midwest and labeled it as the region that will give rise to the next crop of $1 billion-plus companies (Schulman 2017). From where does that observation arise? What’s going on in the Midwest? This paper will provide examples of Iowa-based developments in agtech, and discussion of larger issues for the ecosystem for agtech startups in the Midwest and the potential implications for economies in rural areas of the region.

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Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018
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