The purpose of Client Tell is to spotlight the remarkable work of our clients, and to help businesses learn from and connect with each other. We recently sat down with CEO Tom Rump of Mesur.io to learn how this Chapel Hill startup is changing the future of agronomics to benefit both the family farmer and our world.
Turning Challenge into Opportunity
Agricultural technology startup, Mesur.io, launched in 2016 when Founder Mike Prorock began seeking a way to get sophisticated insight and data on the soil on his Chapel Hill farm. Like so many of the greatest entrepreneurs, Mike became frustrated when he couldn’t find a solution to a problem, so he set out to create one on his own.
Mike sought out other growers, specifically those in the sustainable and organic farming world, and he quickly realized that he wasn’t alone in his desire for better technology and data. He noticed that the small to mid-size family farmers in this segment were lacking the information needed to make smart and environmentally-responsible decisions.
To meet the need, Mike developed a prototype for a plantable analytics sensor called Earthstream. Later that year, he teamed up with CEO Tom Rump, who brought years of technology services experience to the table. Tom had served in management roles in several tech-enabled services companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 corporations. Tom explained:
“Many farmers have always relied solely on their intuition about the environment, soil and weather patterns, but Earthstream brings in relevant, live data to help them make more calculated decisions. We’re supplementing farmers’ instinct with a technology that can help them produce higher yield and better allocate their resources.”
Making An Environmental Impact
Today, Mesur.io is fundamentally changing the way the world measures and interacts with environmental data. Once the 4.25-inch Earthstream device is planted in the ground, it automatically calibrates and begins delivering relevant information, such as soil moisture and ground and surface temperature to a user-friendly platform. Mesur.io’s technology analyzes the data and uses it to make concise recommendations that make the best use of money, labor, water and raw materials.
When farmers conserve their resources, it makes a lasting impact on the environment. 70% of the world’s drinking water is used for agriculture, and up to half of that is potentially wasted. Earthstream’s real-time weather reports help farmers stay ahead of precipitation and reduce over-watering, conserving water for when it’s needed most. The analytics also aid farmers in using the appropriate amount of fertilizer to support the longevity of their land.
“Earthstream allows farmers to work smarter, and be better stewards,” said Tom. “We estimate that we’ll be impacting around 10,000 farms in some capacity this year, with our customer-base expanding to Mexico, Canada and India. Mesur.io also partners with nonprofits, socially-responsible projects, local and regional groups, empowering them to leverage the insight the Earthstream technology provides.”
Building A Strong Network
Since both Mike and Tom had experience with early-stage startups, they knew external fundraising would be crucial to getting their company off the ground. They looked to Jesse at Fourscore Business Law for the securities aspect of their operation.
“From the onset, Jesse was so helpful in introducing us to a network of potential investors in the Triangle,” recalled Tom. “He was able to personally connect us with the right people. When you work with investors, questions need to be answered thoroughly and in a timely manner, and we could always rely on Jesse to do that for us.”
Laying a Firm Foundation
When asked what guidance he would pass on to other entrepreneurs, Tom emphasized the need for making fundamental plans and decisions early on. He advised:
“Take the time to put your foundation in place from the beginning, starting with a solid team. You’ll also need savvy human resources, accounting and legal advisors that can help position you for the future. You don’t want to be months, or even years, down the road and realize you aren’t prepared or equipped for growth.”
To learn more, visit mesur.io.