GV leads $40m Series C into Farmer’s Business Network

Google Ventures (now GV) also led the company's Series B round in May 2015, and has invested frequently in other data-driven agri companies.

Farmer’s Business Network has closed a $40 million Series C funding round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) and DBL Partners, bringing the company’s total fundraising to nearly $88 million. New investor Bow Capital and returning investors Acre Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers provided additional funds.

The capital will be used to further expand the firm’s farmer-to-farmer network, analytics and farm-commerce platform, according to a company statement. The network allows farmers to anonymously share data on a range of measures, from seed performance to chemical pricing, which is meant to help them make better informed decisions.

“We’re doubling down on our mission to empower farmers to increase profits through data-driven decisions and radically different business models,” said FBN CEO and co-founder Amol Deshpande.

Inspired by research that found some farmers paying up to 300 percent more than others for the same input products, FBN Direct farm-commerce platform works with manufacturers to reduce costs and has helped farmers realize input savings of up to 50 percent, according to the statement.

“The rising input costs and dips in commodity prices are making it harder than ever to start and maintain a farm,” said Andy Wheeler, general partner at GV. “By providing access to critical data about what’s working for other farmers and how much they’re paying for different inputs, the FBN network is driving the next wave of yield increases in agriculture for farmers.”

Since its launch two years ago, the network’s members now hold nearly 13 million acres of farmland. FBN Direct covers more than 500 farm chemicals, fertilizers, seeds and seed treatments, and made more than 1,000 deliveries in its first year of operation.

Google Ventures also led the company’s Series B round in May 2015 and has invested frequently in other data-driven agri companies. Previous investments, as reported in Agri Investor, included the lead on a $15 million funding round for Orbital Insight, an agri data company; and participation in the Series B financing for Granular, a San Francisco-based provider of farm management software.