Tractor Zoom, a Des Moines, Iowa-based online marketplace that connects farm equipment auctioneers and buyers, has completed a $1 million seed investment round. The seed capital follows an earlier family & friends round.
Some $4 billion worth of farm equipment is sold at auction in the US every year.
Innova Memphis, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on high-growth companies in the biosciences, technology and agtech fields, participated in the round along with Ag Startup Engine and a small group of angels.
“This capital injection will allow us to hire key individuals, expand our geographic footprint in North America, and release products for other key players in the ag industry—bringing the equipment buying and selling experience full circle,” Kyle McMahon, Tractor Zoom’s founder and CEO, told AgFunderNews. “Every investor is strategic and brings a different skillset to the company. This diverse team will accelerate our grow rate and improve operating efficiencies.”
While many companies focus on direct crop input ROI solutions, Tractor Zoom is focusing equipment purchasing efficiencies and gives farmers more choices and provides a simple way to access more information, and more quickly.
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“We think every new technology company in agriculture faces an educational curve,” McMahon said. “We all know that the average age of the American farmer is rising, and there are fewer farmers every year. Farmers are overwhelmed with all of the new tech products being thrown at them today. Tractor Zoom has worked hard to create solutions for farmers that are simple and intuitive.”
The genesis of Tractor Zoom dates back only a year when McMahon was working for a private equity farmland fund and found himself at more than 1,000 auctions in four years.
“Auctions were a big part of my life and when it came to purchasing equipment for my own operation, I recognized inefficiencies in sourcing equipment at auction,” he said. “$4 billion of farm equipment is sold through the auction method in the US every year. Someone needed to create a superior shopping experience that saves farmers time and gives them more choices when shopping.”
To validate his concept and formulate solutions, McMahon spoke to more than 300 people in the industry and started Tractor Zoom with the mission to connect auctioneers and farms faster than before, launching its mobile apps in November 2017 and its web app in February of this year.
“We have simplified and sped up the auctioneers’ listing process, which gets inventory to shoppers faster and in a more organized manner,” McMahon said. “With our technology and processes, auctioneers can list a 2,000-lot auction in under five minutes. Farmers can then browse and search this aggregated inventory for exactly what they’re looking for. We’re excited to continue to bring tools to the market that give those in the auction and ag industry access to information, helping them save time where they can.”
The company built the web app using an angular JS framework and ionic framework for the app.
By entering an industry that’s traditionally been dominated by print media—newspapers and listing equipment auctions in local classified sections or print ads — TractorZoom is creating a high-speed solution for something that has always been integral to farmers.
Historically, 70% of farm equipment auctions globally take place in the US and while there are opportunities globally, the company leadership see more value with entering other heavy equipment markets before going outside of North America.
The $1 million will be used mostly for team growth, bringing in more inventory and expanding the company’s geographic footprint in North America.
“We’ll also be focused on successfully releasing products for other key players in the ag industry to help bring the equipment buying and selling experience full circle,” McMahon said. “Our CFO, Zac Sandvig, still has a bootstrap mentality when it comes to capital preservation. With a great team we can continue to grow quickly.”
Innova has investments in multiple Iowa-based companies including Agrisync and Swinetech.