New startup Croft announces launch; will streamline the H-2A visa seasonal labor program for agriculture

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Croft is the first startup to be launched from DIAL Ventures’ innovative venture studio program to create digital solutions for the agri-food industry.

"Growers just want to farm — they don’t want to be legal experts or the human resource department.” - Allan Gray, executive director of DIAL Ventures.

DIAL Ventures, an innovation initiative launched by Purdue University in partnership with venture builder High Alpha Innovation, is announcing the launch of its first startup company, Croft. Croft streamlines the H-2A visa program to save farmer and grower employers and their H-2A legal experts time and money. The Croft platform digitizes documents, automates manual workflow processes, and improves collaboration between farmers, growers, their H-2A legal experts, foreign workers, governmental agencies and all other organizations involved.

Labor shortage is one of the greatest challenges facing agriculture today. A recent nationwide poll shows that nearly 90% of farmers and growers find it difficult to fill agricultural jobs. As a result, the U.S. does not have enough people to plant, pick, harvest and manage the crops to feed the nation.

The H-2A visa program has alleviated some of the burden, but a huge supply and demand problem still exists between foreign workers and their farmer and grower employers — and the program is inherently complex and presents many challenges for everyone involved. Solving these challenges will make it easier for the program to grow rapidly. "The H-2A Program is vital, but it is both expensive and cumbersome for farmers and growers, and it is extremely confusing and time-consuming for foreign workers," said Allan Gray, executive director of DIAL Ventures. "Growers just want to farm — they don’t want to be legal experts or the human resource department.”

By launching Croft with High Alpha Innovation, DIAL Ventures delivered on a three-fold innovation strategy that hinges upon:

  • Open innovation to benefit the agri-food industry
  • A fellowship program for top ideators and entrepreneurs
  • Strategic collaboration with corporate partners both within and beyond Indiana

Croft is led by CEO Scott Prince, a serial technology founder and enterprise executive who most recently served as CEO of CarrierHQ, a business-to-business software platform for trucking’s first pay-how-you-drive adjustable-rate insurance.

“At Croft, we have empathy for the farming industry, and the problems within are felt far beyond just farmers and workers” Prince notes. “Croft will de-hassle agricultural labor processes and help the industry gain time, efficiency, visibility and profit. For the first time farmers, growers, their legal experts, workers, and government agencies can complete their H-2A process tasks and communicate in real-time via an easy-to-use shared platform.”

According to Elliott Parker, CEO of High Alpha Innovation, “Launching Croft delivers on our goal to dramatically increase the number of startups created in Indiana. This state’s strong foundation in agriculture is ripe for software innovation, and Croft is only the beginning of what is to come out of High Alpha Innovation’s partnership with DIAL Ventures. I can’t wait to see the impact it has on the agricultural industry.”

About DIAL Ventures
DIAL Ventures, the innovation arm of the Purdue Applied Research Institute, tackles big problems facing the U.S. and the world such as food safety, supply chain shortages, sustainability, and environmental impact. DIAL Ventures creates new companies that drive innovation in the agri-food industry which, in turn, makes a positive impact in our lives and lifestyles for years to come. Learn more at dialventures.com.

About High Alpha Innovation
High Alpha Innovation is an Indianapolis-based venture builder that partners with corporations and universities to build advantaged startups. Its dedicated team of company builders, strategists, and designers apply a proven venture builder playbook — pioneered by High Alpha to help the world’s leading organizations innovate through systematic startup creation. Learn more about High Alpha Innovation at highalphainno.com.

About Croft
Croft streamlines the H-2A visa program to save farmer and grower employers and their H-2A legal experts time and money. The Croft platform digitizes documents, automates manual workflow processes, and improves collaboration between farmers, growers, their H-2A legal experts, foreign workers, governmental agencies and all other organizations involved. Learn more about Croft at withcroft.com.

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Tim Dixon