A syndicate of UK investors led by venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), has invested £3 million ($4.9 million/€3.6 million) into Silent Herdsman, a UK livestock monitoring technology firm.
The syndicate – Albion Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm, Scottish Investment Bank, the venture capital and real estate business and SEP – does not have an exit strategy in place and could invest more into the company at a later date, according to Victoria Scott, head of marketing for Albion.
Albion Ventures invested £1.25 million of the £3 million while the remainder was split between the other firms that could not be reached for comment.
“We will invest on the basis that we believe it’s a growing business and it’s going to be growing for some time,” Scott told Agri Investor. “We may well invest further in a few years’ time when they want to move on to another level.”
Silent Herdsman is a specialist technology firm producing digital behaviour-monitoring collars for cattle. Advanced analytics software is used to assess bovine fertility cycles with a view to enhancing the efficiency of the farmer’s beef and dairy business.
“Once we had completed extensive market research, we knew that this was a global opportunity,” said Annette MacDougall, chief executive officer of Silent Herdsman. “With a global population of 265 million dairy cows, that is a very exciting and addressable market. If you consider beef cattle as well, you’re talking about more than a billion cows.”
“Investors are starting to realise that agritech is a huge opportunity. The ability to predict life cycles using intelligent software is becoming increasingly important. Tracking data accurately and in real time puts us in a very good position.”
Silent Herdsman will use the capital for further development and expansion; the firm has also indicated its enthusiasm to one day export its patented system to other parts of the world, as it perceives there to be appetite globally for the product and the technology.
Albion Ventures manages approximately £240 million across six venture capital trusts. Scottish Equity was founded in 1991 and invests in technology, from providing seed capital to financing mid-stage companies. Scottish Investment Bank is the venture capital and real estate arm of Scottish Enterprise, and operates a range of investment funds in small and medium sized businesses. The firm typically invests in biotechnology, electronics and pharmaceuticals.