Chesterfield, Missouri-based Lean Media has announced the successful close of a $500,000 oversubscribed seed round. Much of the funding round came from local investors in St. Louis, including The Yield Lab as the lead investor.
“We have been very pleased with the continued momentum of Lean Media as they continue to achieve milestone after milestone,” said Chris Danforth, Managing Director of The Yield Lab. “They have been a tremendous member of the 2017 Yield Lab class.”
The Yield Lab is an accelerator dedicated to making agriculture more sustainable through investments in innovative AgTech developers.
“The Yield Lab was the lead investor for us and a great fit,” said Beth Handrigan, CEO and co-founder of Lean Media. “We’re really proud to have the support of the local ecosystem to help us in this raise, to scale, to achieve our vision.”
Lean Media is an audience-first programmatic media company serving the agriculture industry and businesses targeting rural audiences. The company was founded in 2014 and gained early traction with their MVP and the way they leverage technology in the AgTech/AdTech space.
Lean Media co-founder Matt Jeter says he was emboldened by the funding round’s success, but not surprised.
“We’ve always been confident that our strategic approach to programmatic video and display would grab the attention of major players in our space,” said Jeter. “This seed funding is further proof that we’re offering something of serious value to our clients, and will go a long way towards expanding our capabilities and growing our St. Louis area team.”
Lean Media plans to use the funding to make additional hires and develop software that will strengthen the agency’s market position. They currently have seven employees including recently added sales and account management roles, and are on track to double their staff numbers by the end of the year.
Money from the seed round will also go towards the development of new software.
“This fundraise for us is really exciting because it’s going to allow us to develop some technology that will make us more efficient internally and open up more customer segments,” said Handrigan. “We’re really looking forward to what that brings us in 2018 and beyond.”
Long-term plans include launching a fully automated technology platform that fully opens up customer segments and revenue streams, and a Series A funding round.
In addition to participating in The Yield Lab, Lean Media also took part in the Prosper Women Entrepreneurs accelerator. The company will also be presenting to the new The Yield Lab cohort.
“It was fun to be able to give back a little and come back to talk about some of the things we used to do in our previous life to help them along,” said Handrigan. “Lean Media is passionate about helping agribusinesses improve their digital advertising through our innovative, yet simple audience-first approach.”
Handrigan said the growth of St. Louis’s startup ecosystem over the last five or six years has been amazing and Lean Media is in the unique position to promote the union of AdTech and AgTech, something that the community will benefit from.
“We are thrilled to have the support of the St. Louis investment community — their contributions will allow us to continue to develop and innovate our technology platform as we work to make this solution available to even more customer segments,” said Handrigan.
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.