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Former Acara Students to Launch Social Venture in India

MyRain LLC successfully completes initial round of angel investment

May 21, 2012

A University of Minnesota student project aimed at boosting local economies in India has acquired funding to launch a for-profit social venture that will offer efficient drip irrigation systems to rural farmers in developing countries.

MyRain LLC began as the brainstorm of a team of participating in the 2010 Acara Challenge, a course and competition sponsored by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment that helps budding social entrepreneurs develop plans for businesses that make a positive change in the world. After completing the Acara competition, the project leaders incorporated their business and refined plans to the point where they could solicit funding from investors.

Having successfully completed the first of an anticipated two rounds of soliciting funds from angel investors, MyRain co-founder and CEO Steele Lorenz is heading to India June 1 to launch the program on the ground.

“I am pleased to announce that the capital raised from our initial angel investment round is sufficient to fund MyRain’s first year of operations in the Tamil Nadu region of southern India,” said Lorenz, who gave up a job in Minnesota to pursue the launch. Lorenz graduated in 2010 from the Carlson School of Management after completing a double major in marketing and entrepreneurial management.

“In many parts of rural India, small-plot farmers rely on flood irrigation, an approach that stunts crops and washes away valuable soil nutrients,” said Sri Latha Ganti, co-founder & COO of MyRain and 2011 graduate of the university's College of Science and Engineering. “By implementing drip irrigation, rural farmers can increase water and fertilizer efficiency by 20 to 50 percent and increase yields by 30 to 100 percent. MyRain also will stimulate local job creation by hiring salespeople from villages and training them to sell, construct and use drip irrigation systems.”

According to Fred Rose, co-director of Acara and a member of MyRain’s advisory board, drip irrigation technology has proliferated to only 5 percent of arable land in India despite its advantages. MyRain seeks to increase that number while creating sustainable economic development in the communities it serves.

MyRain’s strategic partners include Acara and the Covenant Centre for Development. Learn more at myrainindia.com.

The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment seeks lasting solutions to Earth's biggest challenges through research, partnerships and leadership development. For more information, visit environment.umn.edu.

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MyRain LLC, which began as a University of Minnesota student project, is set to launch this summer in India.

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