AMES, Iowa, June 29, 2020 – Ag Startup Engine (ASE), at the Iowa State University (ISU) Research Park, announced an initial $25,000 investment in DeWitt, Iowa based startup FarmHand App, a mobile web application that connects farmer with quality farmhands. Farmers and ranchers can use this app to post jobs when needing help around the farm, and review multiple applicants, including a five-star rating and review system, before selecting the best fit for the task at hand.
Michael Schaeffer, the startup’s founder and CEO, said of the investment, “We are very excited to be receiving this funding to continue our customer research and app development, providing the best quality of farmhands possible. Over the next six months we hope to introduce another 5,000 active users to the platform with aggressive marketing, and network connections from ASE. Farmhand App is very thankful for all our partners and participants and is excited to join the Ag Startup Engine.”
The company has also received Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) funding from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to accelerate growth and continue to help out farmers during this agriculture labor crisis.
“While the large size and automation of today’s farm equipment has reduced the need for full-time farm hands, it has created a need for more seasonal workers, such as grain truck drivers to keep up with grain combines that can fill a 1000 bushel semi-truck every 15 minutes,” said Al Myers, founder of Ag Leader Technologies and ASE investor member. “Due to the limited number of fulltime workers on most farms, there is also a need for irregular intermittent help, such as installing field drainage tile, where the optimum crew is four workers. The FarmHand App will allow farmers to expand their potential pool of seasonal and intermittent workers, as well as provide better matching of part-time worker skills to the specific type of farm work to be done.”
Ag Startup Engine is excited to welcome the startup into its portfolio. “Michael is a tenacious entrepreneur,” said Joel Harris, ASE co-director. “Farm labor shortages is a continuing issue in agriculture. While FarmHand App is in the early days, we’ve been impressed with Michael’s traction and willingness to learn and grow as a founder.”
Over the next year, the ASE will add up to three more agriculture technology startups like FarmHand App to the portfolio ranging from animal health to precision agriculture.
The Ag Startup Engine was launched nearly three years ago to help address two fundamental gaps that prevent agricultural startups and entrepreneurs from being more successful: early seed-stage investment and organized mentorship from successful entrepreneurs.
Joel Harris, Co-Director
Ag Startup Engine