UW-River Falls student to compete at International Business Model  Competition

May 10, 2017--University of Wisconsin-River Falls agricultural engineering major Nathaniel Wenner of Madison Lake, Minn., is competing in the International Business Model Competition in Silicon Valley, Calif., May 11-12 with his business idea, Ag Spy.

AgSpy  is a precision agriculture company specializing in image analysis to save farmers time and money by helping them identify and locate problems within  their fields. Misapplication of chemicals to crops is a $28 billion problem in the U.S. AgSpy offers a solution to reduce the negative impact on the farm economy.

AgSpy was accepted into the at-large round of the international competition, of which only 17 companies were accepted from universities ranging from UW-River Falls to Harvard University to International Islamic University Malaysia. The top prize is $30,000.

In April, AgSpy, along with two other business ideas from UW-River Falls (VetNex and Chell Co.), competed with other UW schools at the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament in Madison. The three UW-River Falls teams went on to the state competition after competing at the local level in the Innovation Challenge on campus where team VetNex (a software that aids in veteran's disability claims processing) came out on top.

While the UW-River Falls companies did not place in the state tournament, they gained valuable experience and connected with innovative members of the business  community.

“Our  students performed very well at the tournament and were able to see some great  examples of students using the Business Model Canvas to validate their ideas,” said Marina Onken, associate professor of management and academic adviser of  the Innovation Challenge at UW-River Falls. “I’m very proud of our students for their hard work.”

The International Business Model Competition is the first and largest lean startup competition in the world. The competition's primary aim is to educate and inspire smarter entrepreneurs who in turn launch more successful ventures.

For more information, contact Danielle Campeau, director of  the UW-River Falls Center for Innovation and Business Development, at 715-425-0643 or email

FOLLOW-UP NOTE:  Wenner made it to the semi-finals in the 2017 International Business Model Competition on May 12, placing in the top 20 of more than 5,000 teams globally.

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