NEWS RELEASE: Seven Scaleup Companies Complete Cultivo® Virtual Academy Program
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NEWS RELEASE: Seven Scaleup Companies Complete Cultivo® Virtual Academy Program



Billi Hunt, executive director
515-294-1127 or 515-480-2394


MAY 21, 2024


 Founders and entrepreneurs complete unique six-week immersion program with Iowa business, research, government and entrepreneurial leaders

– Seven scaleup companies from Australia and Canada have successfully completed the Cultivo® Virtual Academy, speeding their planning for U.S. market entry.  The six-week virtual program is hosted and coordinated by America’s Cultivation Corridor®, providing participants a unique experience featuring mentorship, interaction with Iowa’s agricultural leaders and an online curriculum that included regulatory and financing systems, and customer perspectives. The Iowa Economic Development Authority was the presenting sponsor of the program.

“The Cultivo Virtual Academy attracts some of the most exciting and innovative international scaleups as they move toward bringing their products and technologies to the U.S. agricultural marketplace,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority. “We are excited to help them build valuable connections with Iowa’s research, farming and business leaders as they refine products and business strategies for a launch to U.S. farmers, livestock producers and ag companies.”

The seven cohort members included:

  • BioScout (Australia) develops patented technology to detect fungal diseases in crops before they appear by sampling disease spores in production fields.
  • Data Farming (Australia) develops digital products to help manage crop variability, weed management, variable rate fertilizer and yield data, including a product to detect weeds using satellite imagery.
  • Farm Health Guardian (Canada) offers biosecurity management technology to help farms and food companies improve animal heath using facial recognition technology and real-time alerts.
  • FeedFlo (Canada) develops sensors and AI-backed software tools to enable pork producers to automate feed orders, optimize animal health and welfare and raise higher quality pigs.
  • GrainFox (Canada) creates a data-driven farm wealth solutions platform designed to help producers build a clearer path from bin to bank, including personalized sales recommendations and other tools.
  • Pairtree Intelligence (Australia) is an ag tech, farm app and imagery integrator, enabling agribusinesses to connect to the data from behind the farm gate for compliance, reporting and productivity insights.
  • Zetifi (Australia) develops novel connectivity solutions that unlock the power of digital technology by extending and optimizing coverage from existing networks to make it accessible wherever it is needed by farmers and their machinery.

“It is exciting to see the range of technologies and innovations that the cohort companies are advancing to benefit farmers around the world,” said Kevin Rasmussen, chair of America’s Cultivation Corridor Board of Directors, owner of Owl Lake Production Company, and former president of Iowa Pork Producers Association. “From animal health and pork production to autonomous equipment and in-field crop management, there is no better place in the world to research, develop, test and bring to market new ideas for agriculture than Iowa.”

Applications for future cohorts of Cultivo Virtual Academy are now being accepted. For more information on the program, or to learn about opportunities to sponsor or participate in a future cohort, visit or contact Billi Hunt, executive director of America’s Cultivation Corridor at

“The Cultivo Virtual Academy is the best investment a scaleup company can make as they develop a path to entering the U.S. market,” said Billi Hunt, executive director of America’s Cultivation Corridor.  “Entering the U.S. marketplace can be overwhelming, but Cultivo’s focused curriculum, networking and connections with Iowa’s researchers, business leaders and farmers provide the knowledge and introductions to successfully navigate market entry.”

Investors and partners of America’s Cultivation Corridor are working together to accelerate the development of new technologies, strengthen Iowa’s ag bioscience workforce, and attract economic development, all focused on meeting the challenge of feeding a growing world population in a sustainable way.

Stakeholders in America’s Cultivation Corridor include Iowa State University, Corteva Agriscience, Deere & Company, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Ames Economic Development Corporation, Iowa Pork Producers, Kent Corporation, MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, ISG, Chevron REG, Scoular, and Sukup Manufacturing Co.

Sponsors of Cultivo for 2024 include Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa State University Economic Development and Industry Relations, BioConnect Iowa and Beck’s.

More information is available at, or by following on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

About America’s Cultivation Corridor
Focused on further developing and marketing the world-renowned agricultural and bioscience economy in Iowa, America’s Cultivation Corridor is building on a rich history of innovation to accelerate value-added agriculture business development by attracting companies, talent and capital from across the globe to the state. Representing a diverse public-private coalition of stakeholders including Iowa State University, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Ames Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits and private sector companies from across the region and state, the Cultivation Corridor is one of the nation’s foremost cluster-based economic development organizations. For more information, visit

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