As press piles up, AgLocal announces board, eyes investment
AgLocal co-founders Naithan Jones (left) and Jacob McDaniel appear in the May issue of Fast Company as part of a feature by the magazine on "The United States of Innovation."
AgLocal, one of Kansas City's most talked-about tech startups of 2012, has teamed with Thad Langford, the executive behind one of Kansas City's most ballyhooed tech acquisitions of 2011. And — no surprise here — the startup continues to garner plenty of attention from investors and media outlets alike.
More on that alliance and those investors in a moment. But first, while it's still hot off the presses, the media attention:
AgLocal, a marketplace that connects independent farmers and producers to local businesses and consumers, hit newsstands this week as part of a feature in Fast Company. The feature, entitled "The United States of Innovation," looks at six ventures that are "changing their communities — and having a ripple effect throughout the world." A two-page spread in the print copy of Fast Company includes a photo of Naithan Jones and Jacob McDaniel, the co-founders of Prairie Village, Kan.-based AgLocal, and a brief look at their company.
Among the highlights from the write-up:
AgLocal has already signed up more than 100 farms around the country, including many small, family-run operations relieved that the digital revolution has finally come to them. "When we go out to meet with farmers," Jones says, "there's inevitably an emotional moment when they tell us how glad they are that technology isn't leaving them behind."
The Fast Company story comes just days after Jones told SPN last week that AgLocal has welcomed three advisors to its board: Langford (below), Dan Carroll and Sarah Gambach. Langford is entrepreneur in residence at OpenAir Equity Partners and serves as an advisor to Leap2, among other Kansas City startups. Carroll founded AdPredictive, works with ICON International and also serves on the Leap2 board. Gambach has served as a director at SBS, Inc. and also has worked with Leap2.
Most notable among the board members' recent exploits is Langford's tenure as president and CEO of Zave Networks, which he led through an acquisition by Google last fall. As AgLocal has explored potential investors for an A Round — which Jones said could be closed as early as 6-8 weeks from now — Langford's relationships have been an asset.
"He walked Zave Networks through that acquisition by Google," Jones said. "You know, there were venture partners that were trying to get in as well before Google acquired them, so he had some of the relationships already that will maybe be inside this venture round."
A first-time founder, Jones also has sought Langford's direction on grooming himself to be a better CEO. "You've got your techincal CEOs, and you've got your real strategic CEOs, and he was a real strategic CEO," Jones said. "That's more in the line of what I'm growing into."
As it eyes investment and pieces together its board, the startup continues to push product development. AgLocal has been conducting alpha testing of its product with a couple of large farm networks near San Francisco and a couple more farms near Kansas City. Plans are in place to launch in those two areas by late summer, with New York to follow shortly thereafter, Jones said.
Credits: Photo of Fast Company by Danny Schreiber. Photo of Langford from bizjournals.com.