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New ag venture capital firm launches in Des Moines

Prairie Crest Capital to optimize investments in agriculture and technology sectors, leveraging Midwest location.

Prairie Crest Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early- to mid-stage investments in breakthrough agriculture and technology firms, has been launched in Des Moines, Iowa, by principals Barry Adams and Mark White.

The partners formed Prairie Crest Capital to address the underserved investment opportunities in the agriculture and technology sectors, particularly in the Midwest. While agriculture and downstream products (such as food) account for nearly 8% of U.S. gross domestic product, they have comprised less than 3% of venture capital investments, on average, over the past three years. Prairie Crest anticipates investment activity in the agricultural technology space to grow from $1.2 billion to approximately $7 billion over the next several years.

“Although the Midwest has approximately 20% of the population, research and development spending, top research universities and entrepreneurial talent, our region receives less than 5% of venture capital investment,” White said. “Also, the rise of new and adaptive agriculture technologies such as precision agriculture and predictive software indicate a growing and underfunded pipeline of solutions in ag tech. With the demand for food and sustainable energy growing and access to arable land and water availability diminishing, it makes for a compelling, dynamic sector rife with transformational possibilities.”

The partners have spent more than a year developing the firm, refining their investment thesis, identifying promising new ventures and formalizing their network of investment partners and technology affiliates. Prairie Crest will be an active investor in these promising firms and has developed a mentoring and engagement platform to optimize their success.

“For Midwest entrepreneurs, location may be an obstacle when seeking not only investment opportunities but access to feedback networks, later-stage capital, technology infrastructure and global marketing contacts,” Adams said. “Our aim is to turn those disadvantages into an advantage by helping them connect the dots and leverage our Midwest location to identify and nurture those breakthrough companies.”

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