Farm2050 collective raises $9m for Israeli irrigation company

Innovation Endeavors, the VC fund launched by Google chairman Eric Schmidt, invested in the round alongside other heavy hitting VC players and a crowd-funding platform.

Farm2050, a collective of agri industry partners to support agtech start-ups established last year, has made its first investment into an Israeli irrigation software service provider.

The collective, which was established by Innovation Endeavours, the VC firm founded by Google chairman Eric Schmidt, invested $9 million into the Series A round of CropX this week.

Crowd-funding platform OurCrowd led the round raising over $900,000 on its platform and was joined by agtech-focused VCs Finistere Ventures and GreenSoil Investments. OurCrowd has raised capital for CropX before.

CropX develops adaptive irrigation services aimed at improving crop yields and water and energy cost savings on farms. It claims that it is the world’s first and only automated adaptive differential irrigation solution.

“Before CropX, there was no cost-effective way to control our irrigation infrastructure,” Mike Mills, a Missouri farmer and a CropX customer, said in a statement. “We are now able to accurately and easily manage our irrigation and make real-time adjustments — all from a smartphone and across multiple farms and fields.”

CropX is Israel VC firm GreenSoil’s sixth food and agri investment that was made from GreenSoil Agro & Food Fund II. From this point on, the fund will only invest in follow-on deals in the existing portfolio companies, Gideon Soesman, co-founder and managing partner of the company, told Agri Investor.

Soesman told Agri Investor that this is GreenSoil’s first irrigation-related investment, but highlighted the importance of the space. “There is a water shortage, which is one part of it, and another part is all about increasing the yield,” he said. He added, “It’s not only about saving the water, it’s also about measuring exactly how much water to use.” Soesman said in Israel 85 percent of the water is reused in agriculture due to severe water shortages across the country.

GreenSoil is currently developing a new $70 million venture capital fund for food and agtech to invest in Israel and the Netherlands.

An equity crowdfunding platform for accredited investors to invest in Israeli and global companies, OurCrowd has offices in the US, Israel and Australia.

Finistere Ventures held the first close for Finistere Ventures II on $37.5 million in February. The fund is targeting $200 million.

Farm2050 is an initiative dedicated to accelerating the development and commercialisation of agtech, with 12 partners including Innovation Endeavors, Google Developers Startup launch and MaRS Ventures.