AgVend launched as an agricultural e-commerce portal in January, serving farmers through the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. But by September, it expects to operate nationwide as it expands its business of channeling online orders for farm supplies and equipment to local retailers.
It’s betting on a new generation of farmers who have grown up with the internet. “As younger, more tech-savvy generations return to the farm with an eye on innovation, the market is open for new technology to increase efficiency and transform the family farm for the better,” AgVend co-founder and CEO Alexander Reichert says.
Adds Lance Petersen, a Minnesota farmer and supporter of AgVend, “Younger farmers come from a generation where they didn’t buy CDs; they were able to select the songs they wanted from an album and download them.”
A group of investors like AgVend’s prospects, and have put up $1.75 million seed funding led by Iowa native Drew Oetting at venture capital firm 8VC. AgVend says it will use the funding to expand across the United States with online connections to retail stores able to fulfill its online orders of products ranging from soil nutrients to equipment-cleaning supplies.
“We are seeing thousands of searches per week from farmers across the country,” Reichert says. “The farmer interest is there. Our challenge is meeting that demand with supply, which is why we are focusing our efforts to increase the onboarding efficiency with new retailers.”
AgVend hasn’t publicly disclosed the terms it works out with retailers, though it notes that AgVend guarantees each order. “We leave the delivery or pickup to our partner retailers, who not only fulfill and service the order but add a welcomed personal touch,” Reichert says.
For retailers that want to sell through their own portal, AgVend provides AgVend Storefront, a white label version of its e-commerce site.
Joining 8VC in funding are investors Green Bay Ventures, Precursor Ventures, FJ Labs, Seahawk Capital, The House Fund, T-Bird Capital and Escondido Ventures.
Prior to founding AgVend, Reichert led product development at Euclid Analytics, which provides retailers with analytics technology designed to monitor and analyze traffic inside stores, restaurants and transportation terminals. Reichert co-founded AgVend with Eli Rosenberg, who was part of the funding team at GetGoing, an online travel services marketplace that is now part of BCD Travel.
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