Ag Startup Engine, an Ames-based program that offers seed investment and investor connections to early-stage agriculture startups, announced Feb. 21 it has added Indianapolis, Ind.-based Croft to its portfolio companies. According to a news release, Croft has developed an online Agribusiness Workforce Platform to help address challenges around seasonal labor, worker productivity and farm operations optimization.

Croft founders Scott Prince and Travis Douce started the company in response to Purdue University’s Digital Innovation in Agri-food Systems Laboratory (DIAL) Ventures identifying labor as one of the biggest challenges for agribusiness. The company came to focus on helping farmers navigate the foreign seasonal H-2A visa program, which involves various qualification and compliance activities, the release said. “H-2A growers just want to grow – and their limited staff doesn’t have the time to do thousands of labor management activities throughout the year – nor can they become HR, labor, and compliance experts to make sure everything is completed correctly,” Prince said in a prepared statement. “Growers, their H-2A agents, and their domestic and H-2A workers all need help, and Croft makes sure everything is handled easily and collaboratively in one secure online place.”

Ag Startup Engine Executive Director Joel Harris said, “We heard about Croft through the Ag Startup Engine network – and were interested in helping find digital solutions for the ag labor market’s biggest challenges. We took notice when our advisers told us how important Croft is to their production business.”