Farmobile has secured $18.1 million in Series B funding from European VC Anterra Capital, AmTrust Agriculture Insurance Services and other investors, which it will use to expand its agri data platform.
“We will accelerate development of distribution channels in ag retail, OEM and equipment dealerships, and insurance,” Farmobile chief executive and co-founder Jason Tatge said.
He told Agri Investor that funding will also go toward expanding the reach of its platform to assist farmers worldwide in verifying their data, generating a revenue stream from it, and mitigating risks. Money has also been earmarked to further streamline and automate the Farmobile Data Store, “the world’s first marketplace for agronomic data,” according to Tatge.
Anterra had already backed the Kansas-based company in 2015, when it led a $5.5 million Series A round of financing. Other investors include Kansas family offices, which Tatge declined to name.
AmTrust Agriculture Insurance Services, a subsidiary of multinational insurance holding company AmTrust Financial, is backing the company for the first time.
“AmTrust Ag saw an opportunity to support Farmobile and the platform they’ve developed to help farmers utilize technology to help investors, insurers and others better understand their business,” AmTrust Ag president Mark Raymie told Agri Investor.
He described Farmobile’s approach to ag data management as a “breath of fresh air for the industry.” Asked to elaborate, Raymie said: “Farmobile’s PUC in-cab device allows farmers to collect and upload machine and agronomic data in real time and use this information to improve their processes […] One area we’re particularly interested in is how Farmobile’s technology can help to streamline the crop-insurance reporting process between farmer and agent.”
Ag data is an increasingly competitive field, with offerings provided by major agrochemical companies and tech giants. Asked how Farmobile differs from Granular, an ag data start-up Monsanto bought in 2013 for $930 million, Farmobile’s Tatge replied: “For one, we are machine agnostic, meaning that our device can give you a comprehensive view of your entire farm even if you’re running a mixed fleet, which many farmers are.”
“Deere, Monsanto and Dupont Pioneer all have their own platforms that provide digital tools to their farmer customers while Farmobile farmers can maintain a neutral storage place for their data that allows them to use the same data set to compare the digital tools being offered.”
‘The next commodity crop’
Another selling point Farmobile likes to highlight about its product is that farmers are able to monetize the data they collect by selling it to vetted third-parties.
“Our terms of service are stupid simple,” Tatge said. “Farmers own and control the data they collect with our services. We believe data is the next commodity crop, but to benefit from it, farmers must first own it.”
According to Farmobile’s website, its PUC can be installed on farm machinery in minutes. It then automatically collects data every second. “It’s not aggregated data from opt-in surveys, estimations or recommendations based on satellite imagery, but rather the real data from the machine that did the work,” Tatge explained, noting that this ensures the data’s completeness and accuracy.
The latest funding round brings Farmobile’s total funding to date to over $28 million.