Wells Fargo incubator grows solutions to tough energy and food problems

Christina Nunez @cb_nunez at TheHill.com did a great spotlight on agriculture innovation and how industry players are addressing tough food and energy problems. Too often we see headlines that highlight food and energy crisis and not the solutions, and people willing to take a risk to address issues that will have a positive impact for generations. Nicely done! #agtech #thehill #akerag #agriculture #incubation #food

Full story here…

Business Development Manager

Aker is a venture-backed precision agricultural startup. We are an innovation leader in evaluating crop health to enable precision farming. Aker believes that in-season crop monitoring is key to optimize inputs, yield and drive profitability. Consequently, Aker is dedicated to building the best in-season agronomic tools and services for the industry.

Aker brings expertise in aerospace, robotics, and computer vision to build a patented drone solution for detecting pests, diseases and fertility issues inside the canopy of crop fields. Your contribution will set the pace to complete a commercial solution and scale a platform to shape the future of precision agriculture by in-season crop management practices.


  • Nurture deeper relationships with key personnel from our existing customers and strategic enterprise accounts.
  • Prospect and engage new customers and partners.
  • Build and manage a world class sales and marketing infrastructure to plan, deliver and expand Aker’s market share across chemical supplier and retailer channels.
  • Take responsibility for annual revenue goals, as reasonably established by you and the leadership team.
  • Live the company values and contribute to the overall strategy of the company.


  • 5-10 years of proven sales success experience with at least five of them in B2B large account sales.
  • An undergraduate degree.
  • Relevant work experience in precision agriculture is preferred.
  • A driver’s license and willingness to drive in the region to meet customers once every few weeks for a couple of days.
  • Able to work independently regularly, while committed to team’s objectives.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to build strong relationships with channel partners.


  • Flexible PTO (vacation and paid time off)
  • Health insurance to give you peace of mind
  • 401K and bonus for performance within your region
  • Udemy subscription to keep advancing your skills

The position is full time, virtual role with quarterly travel to our St. Louis, MO office. No third-party applications will be accepted.

Aker Secures Funding from Institutional Investors to Advance its TrueCause™ Technology

St. Louis, MO (August 27, 2019) – Today, Aker Technologies announced it has secured an investment of $2.6 million in new equity financing. The funding will be used to advance its TrueCause™ technology, an autonomous crop-scouting platform. TrueCause™ and the Aker Pest Network™ provide growers, suppliers, and ag retailers with under-the-canopy disease and pest crop diagnostics to measure the effectiveness of inputs and drive efficient in-season crop management practices.

The financing was led by Lewis & Clark Ventures, with co-investors Flyover Capital and Central Illinois Angels.

“We are delighted to welcome investors who recognize the innovation gap in an increasingly variable climate environment and the potential of our technology across the industry,” said Orlando Saez, Co-Founder & CEO of Aker Technologies. “Our team is excited to have a close relationship with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to accelerate evidence-based field monitoring practices, along with new input and trait development.”

Efficient management of inputs and water to boost crop yield on existing acreage is the foremost challenge in sustainable production agriculture.

“We have seen a lot of startups building crop observation via remote sensing technologies and predictive crop models, but nothing as innovative as Aker’s technology to automate the process of crop scouting under the canopy,” said Lewis & Clark Ventures Principal Larry Page, PhD. “We were particularly impressed with Aker’s early traction with some large agriculture brands, which indicates that they are addressing a real need for growers and retailers.”

“What Aker has accomplished is unlike anything we’ve seen in the AgTech industry,” said Flyover Capital General Partner, Keith Molzer. “We are excited to partner with Aker and Lewis & Clark and see Aker as a great example of the opportunities that early-stage technology companies are creating in Flyover Country.”

Aker Technologies was founded in 2016 with a vision to enable practical tools for growers to improve input cost and efficiency. Aker operates a nationwide crop diagnostic and logistics infrastructure supporting ag retailers and suppliers with validation of crop protection inputs, seed development, and better recommendations with higher ROI for threats impacting yield.

As part of this investment, Aker moved its primary offices to St. Louis to grow the team, work more closely with large agriculture accounts, and continue its research and development efforts with a recently awarded research grant the from Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) in collaboration with the Danforth Plant Science Center and co-administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

About Aker Technologies Inc.

Aker helps growers drive higher crop yields to maximize profitable and sustainable in-season decisions. Aker advances crop diagnostics with patented technology that automates the process of “crop scouting” by detecting disease, pests, crop damage and other environmental stresses UNDER the crop canopy, at scale. Aker offers county and local, pest and pathogen alert data and map services through subscription and in-field crop scouting services on demand. All data is real observed geo-referenced data, not inferred or approximated by current crop models or predictive analytics alone. For more information, visit www.aker.ag.

Coming Soon to a Farm Near You–Digital Crop Scouting

Farmers can get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on under the crop canopy with a new hand-held digital probe, field-tested in North Dakota and field-proofed in Minnesota. You can read more about this story in the NewGround article posted here…

Aker recognized by 2018 THRIVE at the Forbes AgTech Summit

Salinas, Calif., June 28, 2018—SVG Partners announced Philadelphia based startup Augean Robotics as the winner of the 2018 THRIVE AgTech Innovation Award early this morning during the fourth annual Forbes AgTech Summit. In addition to Augean Robotics, precision agriculture company Aker and microbiome company Intrinsyx Bio received honorable mentions.

SVG Partners Founder and CEO John Hartnett and THRIVE Platform Director Mareese Keane presented the award on the Forbes main stage as day two of the summit kicked off. “Each year we are continually impressed not only by the innovative technologies of these companies but also the caliber and level of leadership of each team,” Hartnett said. “The THRIVE Innovation Award is awarded to companies exemplifying the best in technology and leadership.”

Here’s the Aker pitch video and you can find more details from this event here.

The Future of Ag – A Young Perspective

Jennifer Oelfke, Communications and Marketing student at MNSU, Mankato, shares her visions for the future of the agricultural industry, especially for her generation. Along with her foresight, she stresses the importance in upcoming generations to innovate within agriculture. Oelfke has always had close connections to this topic, from being raised on her family’s dairy farm to her involvement in her local 4H chapter. She continued her passion for agriculture by being a founding member of AgToday, an organization designed to promote the growth and awareness of economic vitality shaped by the opportunities within agriculture.


What is your background in agriculture?

I grew up on my family’s dairy farm and was actively involved in youth agriculture associated organizations. For 12+ years I was involved in 4-H focusing my projects on dairy and later took interest in beef. I joined my local FFA chapter and competed in CDE’s for dairy judging, taking top team titles at a state convention, along with leadership positions in the local chapter. I also worked closely with the mission of Midwest Dairy Association during my time as a Finalist for Minnesota’s ambassador program. For as long as I’ve known, I’ve always been actively involved in the promotion of dairy and agriculture.


Why are you interested in pursuing an education with an Agriculture emphasis?

There are many reasons why I’m interested in pursuing a degree with an emphasis in agriculture, personal and objective. Personally, it’s an industry that I have deeps roots in, and have always had a passion for seeing the progression and innovation in agriculture. Objectively, agriculture is not and will not be a disappearing industry. The need for food and other products of agriculture will always be there. There are many actions that are taken place to produce a sustainable product, and a lot of those don’t even involve the farmer. I’m pursuing a communications degree with an emphasis in marketing, and with all the opportunities in agriculture, I know that my degree can directly impact this industry without needing to be on the farm.


What do you wish your generation knew about careers in agriculture?

My generation is actually about 3-4 [generations] removed from the farm, so there are a lot of things I wish they were more aware of, but the main one is that careers in agriculture don’t have to mean putting on work boots and heading out to field or barn. Even though I wish there was more respect from my generation for the people producing our food, it’s just not realistic that will come first. The mission of AgToday, newly started MSU organization, focuses on the business, science, engineering and technical side of the industry. It’s our members’ intent that we can educate our peers about the innovation and opportunities in agriculture.


How do you see your generation influencing the industry?

My generation is generally more adaptable to change, and we want to be a part of the next big thing, and for most, innovation in agriculture can be that. Sustainability is a common top of the conversation, especially for individuals in my generation. We’re very environmentally conscious, so as long as we learn and understand what farming practices will benefit the environment, and ourselves, we can create great change and innovation.

Shared values will move the Agri-Food data revolution into action!

Aker participated in a recent event hosted by FARM Illinois, “AT THE FOREFRONT: Propelling the Agri-Food Data Revolution.”

The two dominant themes for this event were (1) Agriculture data as a currency and considerations as it moves from farm to fork, and (2) How will this group seize the opportunity to enhance leadership and promote sustainable innovation in Illinois?

Rob Dongoski from Ernst and Young was the most provocative of the presenters with is challenge and scorecard on Agri-Food data; Who owns it? Why do consumers and producers care about it? What data is relevant and for what purpose? On average Rob gives C- on how the industry, in general, is dealing with these questions.

Important to note that agriculture data is not a commodity (limited by supply-demand market dynamics) but rather a currency with virtually an infinite dimension.

As a currency, Rob maintains that the study of agriculture data should center around data value, security and fraud, and how this information transacts frictionless at high velocity within this supply chain.

Data has the potential to transform the way we produce, process, manufacture, and distribute the food of the future. Technology is enabling the creation and proliferation of data across the entire agri-food supply chain. Supply chains, however, are traditionally linear with a discrete order of progression – input, produce, source, make, deliver, consume. To maximize the potential of data in the agri-food landscape, we must enable frictionless, transparent, and effective movement of data from farm-to-fork.

Kyle Doodley from CNH Industrial spoke next. Kyle has a background in human factors/ergonomics, yet he is responsible for the CNH’s overall data strategy and analytics. This skill set was a perfect match for his perspective. Kyle explained that the industry needs to work backward to understand valid use cases from the data to guide the collection and analysis. He also established that data acts as an exogenous factor to exert influence on its economic value. He asserted that agriculture data impacts the Total Factor Productivity (TFP) where there is a portion of output that cannot be explained by the input used in production.

I enjoyed visiting at our table with Kyle and listening to his wit. He shared how the largest companies in an industry often are not responsible for the means of data production or infrastructure, but rather create value from the transaction and transfer of data across the supply chain; Facebook is the largest content company, yet they don’t produce any. Uber is the largest transportation company and they do not own cars, etc.

Mark Beckmann, Director of Industry Solutions at Microsoft showed a map with players and actors across the industry and impressed that technology isn’t holding us back, people, cultural barriers, and process are what is holding the industry from full integration. According to Mark, the biggest challenge Microsoft is facing is how do we, as users of data, change behavior to create the most value out of data? Mark anticipates several breakthroughs with personalized data vault and greater adoption of related technologies to create transparency and opportunities for content owners – the farmers – to participate in the monetization stream of their data.

Aker is thrilled to be part of this effort. We bring a unique dataset to support in-season crop management to improve grower efficiency and customer service platform for Ag retailers and suppliers. Here are some my biggest takeaways from this event:

  1. Trust is the glue and the grease to help hold and mobilize agriculture data and the intrinsic value across the supply chain.
  2. Technology is not an answer. The real effort is exploring shared values to overcome barriers to adoption and change.
  3. My take: FARM Illinois has a unique opportunity to be not only an industry convener but also take an active role as a publisher and storyteller consolidating industry knowledge for the benefit of educating consumers.

Illinois has a lot of assets to support the industry move from participant to innovator with shared values that can engage the rest of the world in this conversation.


Use Case


The purpose of this trial was to determine which micronutrient combination was most effective for plant health. In the left row, a combination of Zinc, Manganese, Boron, and 1 Qt/acre of Calcium were added. The row directly to the right of that row included all of the same ingredients except Calcium. The far right row was left untreated. The NDVI imagery taken on July 20th directly correlated with yield. The row which outperformed the others included Calcium, while the expected worst-performer was the untreated row.


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OFFICE(507) 893-4545
ILLINOIS220 N. Green Street
Chicago, IL 60607
MINNESOTA618 South Main St.
Winnebago, MN, 56098


Use Case


Compaction can have a noticeably negative impact on crop health that we’ve all seen before. In this case, compaction resulted from a center till planter.


Get in touch

This contact form is deactivated because you refused to accept Google reCaptcha service which is necessary to validate any messages sent by the form.



OFFICE(507) 893-4545
ILLINOIS220 N. Green Street
Chicago, IL 60607
MINNESOTA618 South Main St.
Winnebago, MN, 56098