Rantizo reducing farmers need for chemicals with targeted drone spraying
Spraying chemicals to control weeds and insects can be a time consuming part of agricultural work, as well as an expensive one. The Iowa City startup Rantizo, which is currently going through the Iowa Startup Accelerator, hopes to streamline the process using drones and electrostatic sprays for application of chemicals. How Rantizo works After working…
Spraying chemicals to control weeds and insects can be a time consuming part of agricultural work, as well as an expensive one. The Iowa City startup Rantizo, which is currently going through the Iowa Startup Accelerator, hopes to streamline the process using drones and electrostatic sprays for application of chemicals.
How Rantizo works
After working on previous tech focused on delivering small amounts of nitrogen directly to seeds, Rantizo CEO Michael Ott wanted to focus on a way to deliver other agricultural chemicals. Earlier this year he helped found Rantizo, to do exactly that.
“Farmers are awash in data, but many don’t know what to do with it,” Ott said. “We want to take that data and help them understand what needs to be sprayed and where.”
Rantizo does this using electrostatic tech. When the chemical is deployed from sprayers on drones, an electrostatic charge is used on the chemical that helps it to coat the targeted area of plants. Because Rantizo just uses the active agent of the chemical, rather than the thousands of gallons of water that is usually used to help deliver it, Rantizo can use as little as one ounce per acre. This allows for a payload that’s much more manageable for drones.
Ott said Rantizo will start off selling drones, sprayers and cartridges to applicators who provide services to farmers. Down the line, the company may move into having its own service business to handle application itself.
The company recently completed some beta testing on cotton in Memphis, where the company also won the AgLaunch Startup Station Pitch Contest.
Ott has been involved with the Iowa Startup Accelerator in the past as a mentor and advisor, so when the opportunity came to apply for the 2018 cohort, he couldn’t pass it up.
“Being able to be on the other side of the table was a welcome opportunity,” Ott said. “It’s great to be able to participate, learn and take advantage of some early funding.”
Targeting the future
Within the next six months, Ott hopes to have some initial sales for Rantizo, with the goal of launching the product in October of next year. Longer term, he sees Rantzio as a company that will likely fit in with an existing player in the agtech field.
“Eventually, I’d like to see the company acquired by a bigger player and roll this out to a larger audience based on the distribution and reach those larger companies have,” Ott said. “Everyone we’ve talked to about Rantizo has been very encouraging.
Joe Lawler is a freelance reporter based in Des Moines.
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