Elixir backs agri ‘big data’ company

The venture capital firm has led a $7m Series A round of investment in Colorado-based aWhere, a 'big data' company that provides localised climate information to farmers.

Denver based aWhere, a big data company that provides localised climate data to farmers, has secured $7 million in series A funding round from US venture capital firm Elixir Capital. The round was also joined by Colorado focused, Aravaipa Ventures.

aWhere solicited the capital via Agfunder, the crowd funding platform for agriculture enterprises.

Elixir, which typically backs growth stage SMEs looking to set up or based in the ASEAN region, invested from its ECM Straits Fund I, which closed on $150 million in March this year. Elixir usually takes minority stakes in portoflio companies, ranging from 25-40 percent.

Agriculture and agribusiness data providers such as aWhere are increasingly attractive to venture capitalist and other private markets investors. “In 2013, we saw $277 million of agtech deals and we’ve seen a major increase in that figure just in the first half of this year, with $400 million in agtech deals recorded. I think it’s likely that figure could reach $800 million or even a $1 billion by the full-year mark, if a large deal takes place,” Rob Leclerc, chief executive of Agfunder, told Agri Investor.

Interest in ag data and software as a service companies targeting agriculture has been helped by major deals such as Monsanto’s $1 billion acquisition of Climate Corp and Cargill’s recent launch of a software service for farmers, Leclerc added.