Katherine Schulman is an Associate with M25 Group, a venture capital firm focused solely on early-stage investments in the Midwest.
We at M25 are very proud of our Midwest roots. It is core to our investment thesis, as well as who we are individually.
In the same way that the Midwest is core to us, agriculture is core to the Midwest. Ever drive from Chicago to St. Louis? How about Kansas City to Lincoln, or Columbus to Indianapolis? If you’ve ever driven anywhere across the region, odds are you’ve passed fields on fields on fields filled with anything from corn, to soybeans, to cows. It is hard to miss, and forms a regional historical economic core going back into history.
With the rise of Agtech, agriculture has become an industry that is undergoing technological evolution. And it is this that piqued our interest. We found ourselves asking a whole series of questions: What are these innovations? Who needs them and who is creating them? What resources are available to make all this happen successfully? How do we know which innovations are the right ones?
To answer these and more, we undertook a three month deep dive into the industry, interviewing experts up and down the value chain, crunching numbers, and generally reading every report we could get our hands on. What did we learn? In short: how the Midwest is poised to drive true innovation in agriculture. And we are excited to share with you our analysis and conclusions.
What can you expect?
Initially when we undertook this project, we hoped to shed light on what makes the Midwest operate differently than California when it comes to agriculture and Agtech, and what the advantages and disadvantages were to the region. What we discovered instead, was that all the elements of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem are lining up to make the Midwest uniquely positioned to be the leader in Agtech.
To illustrate this, the resulting report starts by laying out the building blocks of the industry: who, what, where, and why. Once those have been clearly established, we break down the challenges the players are facing, the types of resources needed to address these challenges as well as how these resources are available in the Midwest, and lastly and perhaps most relevant, what trends are emerging and the ground breaking companies that are leading these trends.
We hope this report is as revealing for you as putting it together has been for us. If nothing else, we hope that it sheds light on the exciting developments in this space, as well as the areas where the Midwest still has room to grow on its path to being the industry leader and producing the next billion dollar Agtech company.
You can read the report, Agtech in the Midwest: Creating Fertile Ground for the Next Unicorn, here.
M25 Group is one of the most active venture capital firms focused solely on early-stage investments in the Midwest. Their objective, analytical approach has helped support their thesis and craft what is known as an ‘index fund of Midwest startups.’ M25 has already invested in over fifty companies since their inception in 2015, and continues to invest in over twenty companies each year. Their collaborative, forward-thinking style and diverse array of investments across industries and business models throughout the region has quickly established them as a key node in the Midwest startup ecosystem.