Casey Niemann to Speak of His Leap into the Start-Up World
“I had reached the point where if I was going to take a risk, I needed to take it,” said Casey Niemann of his decision to leave the comfortable confines of his 14-year career with Microsoft and plunge into the entrepreneurial waters with a tech startup of his own. “With a deep interest in agriculture and technology I chose courage over comfort and made the leap,” recalls Niemann, Founder of AgriSync and the March guest at the Business Innovation Zone’s Startup Stories series.
The odd combination of being born and raised on a Kansas farm, working for Microsoft when the public movement to cloud based computing and software as a service became commonplace, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Technology Association of Iowa, perfectly prepared Niemann to both identify and address the issue that AgriSync is crafted around. “We’re building the first customer service platform specifically designed for the agriculture industry,” he explains of the company’s mission to “help farmers and their trusted advisors connect more simply and effectively to make farming less complicated.”
Fresh off a successful beta testing season and looking at a full scale launch in early 2015, AgriSync is currently in a capital seed round and Niemann expects his experiences in that space to be a major portion of what he shares with the BIZ audience. “I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing your pitch,” he admonishes. “Seeking constructive feedback on your presentation is critical to your success.”
Even with years of experience in his various roles at Microsoft, pitching on his own behalf was a different animal. “Independent of your experience and your background, raising angel funds is something you need to study and learn before you leap into the fray,” he argues.
“The level of due diligence is significant and it means that the fund-raising process is extensive and demands as much planning as product development,” he warns, noting that you don’t want to be out raising your next dollar when you are on your last dollar.
The importance of the team is something Niemann also expects to discuss. Knowing what you know and what you don’t is important, and finding someone who knows what you don’t is key to building a good team. “Assess your skills and find somebody that compliments them,” he advises.
For those considering the entrepreneurial leap, Niemann can share this thought, “Having a strong ecosystem of family, friends and network connections has been a critical piece of the puzzle for me.” And he would argue that entrepreneurism is not only for the millennial generation. A network, 15 to 20 years in the making, and the humility that comes with maturity, have both served him well.
Blending agriculture with technology and bringing two decades of a corporate career to an entrepreneurial adventure, Casey Niemann is positioned to offer some unique insights under the questioning of Colwell and crowd at the March Startup Stories.
$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch).
March 25th, 2015
Ruan II, 601 Locust
Conference Room 101
Contact us at info@squareoneDSM.com for more information.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the BIZ for details.
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Square One DSM's mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. Square One DSM helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization. Learn more at SquareOneDSM.com.