Chris Sprehe joined Tillable in March 2019 as its vice president of engineering. His primary role includes working closely with the other stakeholders to ensure that the engineering team is working on the right things and getting them done as efficiently as possible.
A native of Cedar Lake, Indiana, Chris pursued a double major in math and computer science at DePauw University. “I thought I might want to do something more math oriented and looked into opportunities in the actuarial space. But then I latched on to the computer science part, and it took off from there.”
His real introduction to the ins and outs of agriculture came when he helped develop the original web platform for 640 Labs (now Climate FieldView), Corbett Kull’s previous startup that automatically collects a wealth of data to help farmers better manage their farming activities.
Following that website development work, Chris spent several years leading the engineering team at The Onion. “When I started with The Onion, it was a smaller company based in Chicago,” Chris says. “After several mergers and acquisitions—including a merger with Gizmodo Media Group—we had grown to nine sites. By the time I left, I was leading a team of around 35 engineers across Chicago, New York, and Budapest, and we were up to 13 different sites spanning all kinds of different interests.”
Chris says he joined Tillable partly for the change—“I was looking for something a lot different, and Tillable is definitely that”—but also to be a part of a company that is helping people.
“We’re actually helping people contract out with an agreement and handling electronic payments and processing,” Chris says. “It’s not just presenting them with the data—that’s obviously a huge part of it, and a huge part of the transparency that we’re trying to bring to the market—but the ease of use is another big part of what we’re trying to provide.”
What is Chris’s favorite accomplishment to this point? “The tool we’re working on right now that brings in all the different soils that make up a particular field or farm has been a really interesting project. It’s exciting to be able to showcase the different soils that make up a farm—and the productivity of those soils—in an automated way. That has been a really interesting dataset to work with and will be a big benefit to our customers and our internal team.”