This is an experimental page, meant to be immediately helpful for startups building equipment solutions. We intend to build more pages and databases like this to benefit other types of startup companies (crop input companies should probably pursue different types of channel partners.) Like it? Want to be a more active channel partner here? Have ideas to improve this? Let us know here.
Channel partners are companies that partner with other companies to help sell and/or enable their services or products. Channel partners tend to be more established, reputable companies, and can be divided into three main categories: distributors, independent dealers, and independent sales reps. The most successful channel partnerships in agtech tend to be between channel partners who have something to gain from the increased distribution of the startup company’s products.
Ag equipment startups have the potential to benefit from partnerships with original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Equipment Dealers. These partners can deliver product feedback in the early days, and as products become increasingly hardened, they can serve as sales (including rental), distribution, and service/repair partners. Building out dealer networks, storing and moving equipment, and deliverying services can be very expensive for early stage companies, and partnering with existing channel partners can alleviate those challenges. Moreover, most Equipment Dealers and OEMs have existing reputations and relationships with farmer customers, as well as with financiers. These established brands can lend credibility to new brands.
That said, as is discussed in greater depth in McKinsey’s “How OEMs can Seize the High-Tech Future in Agriculture and Construction,” there can be perception risk amongs farmer customers around OEMs’ technology knowledge and ability to service high tech products. All partnerships are situationally specific, so startups should independently evaluate the pros and cons of OEM and Equipment Dealership partnerships.
Walt Duflock, VP of Innovation at Western Grower’s Association, illustrates an example fof Guss’s leverage of John Deere and RDO as channel partners here.
In an effort to make it easier for ag equipment startups to connect with potential channel partners, we’ve created a database of some (this list is not comprehensive) of the establishd ag equipment dealers in the US below. If you get through this entire database and want more, check out Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s Member Directory.The below table contains only publicly available information obtained through the companies’ websites, all of which are included in the table. Inclusion below does not indicate an endorsement of any type. If you represent an ag equipment dealership and would like to add your name to this list, please let us know, here.