Insignum AgTech, a U.S.-based company whose technology enables a plant to use its pigment to communicate health problems, announced today that it has closed on a round of pre-seed investment funding. Investors include Ag Ventures Alliance, Countryside Angels, Elevate Ventures, and continued support from private angel investors.
Insignum AgTech creates crop traits using gene editing, a technology that is bred into seeds. As a result, growers can more clearly identify pending stress and yield-limiting factors — such as insect attack, low fertility or disease — before they become unmanageable or too costly.
“When the crops turn color, such as purple, growers can give their crops exactly what they need, when they need it, but only if the problem truly exists,” said Kyle Mohler, Founder and CEO of Insignum AgTech. “Especially now, farmers don’t have the budget to apply inputs that may or may not produce results. Farmers can have confidence that their in-season management decisions will increase yields. The simple color-coded signal helps growers improve crop heath while using sustainable precision techniques to treat only the parts of the field that are impacted.”
Mohler said the funding will be used to advance genetic development to a commercial-ready product, apply for regulatory approval from the USDA and expand field trials.
Elevate Ventures is the most active venture investor in the Great Lakes region. The firm helps high-growth startups and early-stage companies expand into high-performing, Indiana-based companies.
“There is an elegant simplicity in Insignum’s technology. Their solution leverages a plant’s own DNA pathways to create pigments so that they can communicate their issues,” said Kristin Eilenberg, an Elevate Ventures Entrepreneur-in-Residence. “Kyle and his team have already demonstrated their tenacity and resourcefulness to develop and prove the science. It will be exciting to see how they continue to create the future of their company.”
Insignum’s solutions focus on sustainability through more timely and effective responses to issues when they happen, which, Eilenberg said, Elevate Ventures found attractive when evaluating the company. In addition, Insignum has the potential to reduce growers’ reliance on costly pesticides.
Ag Ventures Alliance invests in companies that increase farm profitability. Its membership comprises more than 90% active and retired farmers. Ag Ventures Alliance members have the opportunity to invest additional capital through Countryside Angels.
“We saw a way to help farmers make better application decisions with the Insignum technology,” said Ag Ventures Alliance CEO Spencer Stensrude. “Insignum teaches each plant how to tell the farmer when it is sick, and doing this through the seed makes it so scalable.”
Co-investor Purdue Ventures invested $100,000 in Insignum AgTech in 2022 through the Ag-Celerator fund, operated with assistance from the Purdue College of Agriculture, the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and the agricultural industry.
Purdue Ventures manages multiple pools of capital in collaboration with the Purdue University entrepreneurial ecosystem and local corporations, enabling Purdue startups to improve the world.