Iowa-based Company Bringing Financial Technology Solutions to Farmers
New products, technologies, and management practices are introduced each growing season that promise to boost yield or provide other benefits to farmers, however it can be daunting for farmers to determine which new opportunities are worth their investment, especially when crop production margins are tight. An Iowa-based company is providing an innovative new approach that helps take the financial risk out of the equation for farmers considering new products or technologies.
Growers Edge is a provider of data-driven financial technology products, solutions, and tools for the agricultural industry. The company works with ag retailers to create warranty-backed Growers Edge Crop Plan™ retailers can offer to their farmer customers that assures a specific yield level.
“Growers benefit because they have an additional level of protection. The warranty-backed crop plan provides retailers with the ability to position newer technologies or practices a grower might have initially been hesitant to adopt because of market conditions,” said Dan Cosgrove, CEO of Growers Edge.
The company was founded in 2017 with an initial focus on crop insurance, however in 2019 began a pivot toward the warranty-backed crop plans. The company is in its second sales year, working with retailers across corn and soybeans in the Midwest.
“We don’t make the chemistry, seed, drones, or other products. We can, however, include all of those into a crop plan that helps impact yield,” said Cosgrove. “Working with ag retail partners is a good fit because it allows us to develop a tailored plan for each retailer with products and services that offer the most benefit to their grower customers.”
Some retailers will offer a crop plan with a range of products and services, while others choose to focus on one product.
“The advantage of our crop plan is the grower is able to keep all the upside potential they realize from following the recommended products and services. If they follow all the steps and fall below the yield threshold, the product warranty kicks in to protect downside risk,” he said. “However, if the yield threshold is exceeded, all the additional revenue opportunity stays with the grower.”
Currently, all the plans are based on meeting a yield threshold, however Cosgrove sees opportunities in the future that could measure stewardship, sustainability, profit, or other metrics.
In July, Growers Edge closed a $40 million Series B round of financing that was led by S2G Ventures, Cox Enterprises, and Skyline Global Partners. Bunge Ventures and Finistere Ventures also participated in the round. The investment will allow Growers Edge to expand its team, more quickly develop its product offering and expand in additional markets in the U.S. and globally. The company currently employs over 35 people, primarily located in Central Iowa, with remote sales team members and technology developers.
Central Iowa’s strong presence of both insurance and agricultural industries are the perfect fit for Growers Edge.
“Des Moines is a hub of all types of financial, banking, and insurance businesses, so there are a lot of talented people here focused on data and analytics,” said Cosgrove. “We might be applying data in a slightly different way than traditional products, but the ability to tap into people with data analytics expertise is critical for us.”
Looking to the future, Cosgrove said the focus at Growers Edge will be to continue to develop and bring to market the data-driven financial products that will support agriculture and help farmers mitigate the risk and uncertainty of new practices and technologies.
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