Agdata enjoys strong investment week

The agdata sector attracted investments worth $28m last week, according to online data platform i3.

The agdata sector enjoyed $28 million-worth of early stage investment last week, according to i3, the online data platform.
Colorado-based agdata service aWhere and Minneapolis-based agdata enterprise Conservis were two of the companies that received funding last week, raising $7 million and $10 million respectively from a number of investment firms including Elixir Capital and Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, the agtech venture capital firm.

Interest in the agdata sector has been picking up for some time according to industry insiders. And it still has far to go because it is relatively untapped, even in developed markets such as the United States, Tim Reeser, managing director of Aravaipa Ventures, a Colorado based venture capital firm, told Agri Investor. Aravaipa Ventures invested $7 million in aWhere last week alongside Elixir Capital.

There is also the hope that generalist ICT and software investors will venture into the space, according to Andrew Ziolkowski, managing partner at Cultivian Ventures. “It’s going to be growing and that’s the consensus among large investors and venture capitalists as well,” he said.

The potential for expansion into developing markets is another positive for the sector, according to Ziolkowski. “In the developing world, governments or development financiers and foundations will often invest in data services for farmers,” he said. “It’s those parties that are the real customer currently. As a result, even those that may have shrugged off the market in the past, will look at it more closely,” he said.

Eventually developing markets will grow to the extent that farmers in those nations will be able to afford cheap versions of agdata services themselves. “Even if they pay a dollar a month for their data, that’s a market,” said Reeser.

Agdata services range from measuring and analysing seed types to water needs to farmer methodologies.

Conservis raised $10 million in Series A funding from Heartland Farms, the potato and vegetable farm based in Wisconsin, Middleland Capital, the global early stage tech investment firm and Cultivian Sandbox on September 8.

Investment into other areas of agriculture also enjoyed strong early stage investment last week. Good Eggs, a producer-cum-grocery delivery service closed a $21 million series B round last week, led by Index Ventures; Agtech company 6SensorLabs, a food testing product manufacturer, closed a $4 million seed round last week, led by Upfront Ventures. And Thomas McNerney & Partners and Finistere Ventures led last week’s $11 million funding round of SGB, a biofuel company using jatropha as the raw material.