AgLocal raises additional $500K with backing from Dundee VC, Marc Ecko
AgLocal has closed part of a seed round featuring a mix of Midwestern money and high-profile coastal investment.
Is there an echo in here?
Nope. But there is an Eckō.
AgLocal co-founder and CEO Naithan Jones confirmed that his startup has closed on an additional $500,000 in seed funding, bringing total capital raised in the round to $1.5 million. The second portion of the round includes investment from Dundee Venture Capital, an Omaha VC firm; Artists & Instigators, a venture innovation company co-founded by Marc Eckō; Serious Change Investments, a fund headed by Josh Mailman; and Pat LaFrieda, a meat wholesaler and the subject of the Food Network show Meat Men.
Based in Prairie Village, Kan., and co-founded by Jones (left) and Jacob McDaniel, AgLocal is building a marketplace for connecting independent meat farmers and producers to local businesses and consumers. The most recent raise follows AgLocal's June announcement that it had raised $1 million of a potentially larger seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz of Menlo Park, Calif. and OpenAir Equity Partners of Kansas City, Mo.
Since AgLocal announced the first part of its seed round, the company has added a chief technology officer. That hire brings AgLocal's team to five people, and Jones said he expects to add 3-4 more in the near future.
In a phone interview, Jones elaborated on the startup's other activities of late: "Just hiring, opening offices, setting structure in place and getting people directed in their roles so that we can meet the market here early fall."
For Dundee VC, the AgLocal investment is one of the first from a recently announced $15 million fund. Mark Hasebroock, the founder of Dundee VC, said his firm is bullish on AgLocal and would have contributed considerably more money to the round if given the opportunity.
"In looking at the marketplace, I just think it's something that has a lot of appeal," Hasebroock (right) said. "Any time you have that combination of a great CEO with a great tech and great sales team, it's pretty dynamic. I know they're going to do something great."
For Artists & Instigators, AgLocal is the third investment with Midwestern ties since last October, following A&I investments in Zaarly and Dwolla. Eckō cited Jones' leadership and AgLocal's "on the nose" approach to addressing a big need as the primary reasons for his firm's investment.
"(AgLocal), though it is aiming squarely at the B-2-B arena now, it is the consumer-facing pivot that really excites me/us," Eckō (left) said in an email. "Adding transparency to how the products you consume are made — and by whom — matters."
Jones said the geographic diversity of the funding entities involved in AgLocal's seed round is a formula the company likes. "You've got East Coast, Midwest and West Coast," Jones said. "For a company that's going to scale nationally, we think that's incredibly important to have many different perspectives and forces from different parts of the country."
Jones said the seed round was raised in two parts to allow him to take some time off from pitching to investors and help the company to refocus on building its product and addressing other needs.
"That was important to me to get back here and get back to innovating on the company rather than being on the road and being in meetings outside the company for weeks at a time," he said. "I thought that was important to reset the tone and the pace … so that we didn't lose any momentum on actually delivering on what the company's promise is."
For a company that hasn't yet released a product, AgLocal has been something of a national media darling, receiving pre-launch coverage from outlets like Fast Company, and, most recently, National Public Radio's Morning Edition. But Jones welcomes the pressure that comes with that attention.
"We’re going after a very big market, and to do that we've got to do it in a very brazen way," Jones said. "We've already pushed all of our chips into the center of the table."
For coverage of the first part of AgLocal's seed round, see our previous story: "AgLocal raises $1m led by Andreessen Horowitz, OpenAir EP"2
Credits: Photo of Jones from twitter.com. Photo of Hasebroock by Danny Schreiber. Photo of Ecko by Malone & Company/Big Omaha.