Startup helps farmers sell food online

CIOL Bureau
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SAN FRANCISCO, US:  Local Dirt, a Madison, Wisconsin-based company that helps farmers and agricultural producers sell their food online using its software logistics platform, raised an undisclosed amount of what's believed to be seed stage capital last week.


Local Dirt founder Heather Hilleren would not disclose the amount of the investment, but said it was more than $1 million. She said the funding will be used to help market the company's service and website, which went live last fall.

The company, founded in 2005, raised the capital from O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Peak Ridge Capital's AgTech Fund. San Francisco-based O'Reilly AlphaTech, which typically makes seed and early-stage investments, focuses on software, cleantech and other emerging trends. The fund is the investment arm of Internet and free open source supporter Tim O'Reilly.

The other investor in the round, Boston-based AgTech Fund, invests in startups that focus on more efficient methods of agricultural production in areas ranging from seed engineering to fertilizer and soil nanotechnology.

The funding is Local Dirt's first institutional round of funding, following a grant of $600,000 from the National Science Foundation.