Hamilton County startup lands funding to further ag-tech development
An ag-tech startup in central Indiana has closed on a pre-seed funding round to advance its genetic development technology. Insignum AgTech, based in the Hamilton County town of Atlanta, has created a process that allows plants to use their pigment to communicate health problems.
The company did not disclose the amount of the investment.
The round included investments from Ag Ventures Alliance and Countryside Angels, both based in Iowa, as well as Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures and continued support from private angel investors.
Insignum’s technology uses gene editing in seeds that allows for plants to change their color. The company said it allows growers to identify issues that could limit yields, including insect attack, low fertility or disease.
Founder and CEO Kyle Mohler said in a news release the goal is to give farmers more confidence that their preventative measures will help increase yields.
“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,” Founder and CEO Kyle Mohler said in a news release. “Especially now, farmers don’t have the budget to apply inputs that may or may not produce results. 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.”
In this week’s episode of the Agbioscience podcast by AgriNovus Indiana, Mohler talked about the company’s technology.
“In the lab, we’ve seen plant turn purple in response to disease less than 24 hours after that initial infection,” he said. “And the same thing will work not only in our first crop in corn, but it can be translated to any crop grown in the world.”
Mohler said the company plans to license the technology to seed companies that will then integrate it into their seed varieties and sell it to farmers. He said they’ve seen major success in field testing thus far.
“Our technology in the field has been responding to every single disease that our plants have been infected with but specifically only disease. And why that’s important is that as soon as [farmers] see this purple color, they know it means one, and only one, thing, and they can jump in their tractor and deal with the situation right away.”
Mohler said the company plans to use the funding to further develop the technology in order to apply for regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and expand field trials.
The company currently has two full-time employees, and Mohler told IIB the funding will support an additional position, for which they are now hiring.
In January 2022, Insignum AgTech was one of two startups to receive $100,000 from Purdue University’s Ag-Celerator Fund.