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They told him to make it in California.This Agtech founder is back in Kansas instead




When it came time to launch Trevor McKeemans’ agtech startup, he took the future groundbreaking company to the coast, especially to California where potential funders said he could find the money and talent. Refused to farm towards.

I was actually in Boston at the time, explained HitchPin founder and CEO McKeeman. HitchPin is a digital marketplace for farmers and ranchers to buy and sell products and services. I met with some investors and they said, “This is great.” we love that idea. We don’t understand agriculture, but it’s going to be huge.

The geographic paradigm has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak, he said, with the pandemic opening up employers and ultimately funders to a more remote workforce, setting up tech companies in San Francisco. He said he moved away from the idea that he needed to.

McKeeman eventually launched the company in 2019, headquartered in Manhattan, Kansas, and seeded his startup in the best land he found: the Sunflower State.

I don’t know if you can see the chip on my shoulder from the back row, but he said it’s there, describing an early experience with an investor. So I said, actually I’m a company that can hire people who know food production and know agriculture and have a little chip on their shoulders to show they can build world class technology. That’s why HitchPin is headquartered in Kansas, and the team also has top talent in Texas and Missouri. At one point, it spanned six time zones.

Since then, the company has raised over $6 million in funding and most recently launched HitchPin profiles, wallets for users, credits, and shared podcasts to help farmers do more with their technology. .

Click here for more information on the HitchPins Marketplace.

McKeeman spoke Friday at the Innovations in Ag Tech Conference at the Innovation Festival held by BioKansas at Children’s Marcy Park. Zach Luea, vice president of operations at HitchPin, joined us for his session on how marketplaces can improve his food supply chain and help feed nine billion people. Luea served as general counsel to KC-based BackLotCars before the startup was acquired by him for $425 million in 2020.

One of the festival’s goals is to showcase innovative companies and technologies emerging from the Midwest like HitchPin.

Andrew Jason, head of special projects for the Grand Farm Initiative in North Dakota and one of the festival’s moderators, said there’s an opportunity to bring events like this off the coast and into the agricultural heartland of the Midwest. said it was important.

Nakanishi is the best! Jason added.

McKeeman shares the same sentiment, especially for Kansas State.

This is a state where people want to see things done, he explained. Therefore, it is a perfect place to set up shop. And I am grateful for the opportunity to host an event like this that showcases the really cool things that are happening here.

Speaking at the Innovations in Ag Tech Conference, part of the Innovation Festival presented by Trevor McKeeman, HitchPin and BioKansas

McKeeman grew up on a farm near Abilene where his parents started farming in the 1980s.

At the time, many of his neighbors were bankrupt and interest rates were high, he said. So they did something different. And I think it affected my view of farming.

McKeeman, who previously founded three tech companies, left the agricultural world after high school. He attended Kansas State University’s business school and later moved to Kansas City to do technical consulting. He returned to the world of agriculture when he went to Washington, DC to work in agricultural policy.

That gave us a bigger perspective of how important this is, not only at the producer level, but also at the national security level, he added.

I decided to start HitchPin while doing my master’s degree at MIT.

We were really looking at marketplaces and how they were transforming every industry. And we kept saying, why isn’t this in food production yet? is why I started HitchPin. Since then we have grown very quickly.

Working to address the supply and demand mismatch in agriculture, the marketplace already has over 61,000 users, listings in 49 states and over $85 million in supply-side listings.

So it can be done even from places like Kansas, he added.

His own farmer father didn’t quite see the need for the app at first, but McKeeman says he got on board as soon as he put the hay up for sale, sold it in two days, and had it right out of his wallet on the app. I received payment.

He said the reason we made it is because he sells hay and doesn’t get paid for six months.

In addition to products, farmers can also rent services on the app.

My dad is 74 and doesn’t want to buy an $800,000 combine right now, McKeeman continued. Therefore, he wants to hire that service done with someone who needs that level of skill and needs to run even more acres to justify it.

He said the generations who take over the farm are used to ordering online. And in the near future, HitchPin aims to add a storefront to their app to make the process even easier.

He explained that instead of just calling five people you know who do that service or have that product, you can now have an entire country available.

This story was made possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create extraordinary solutions and empower people to shape their futures and succeed.

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