One of the greatest challenges for farmers today is the increasing volatility in the climate, leading to unpredictable weather patterns, making growing conditions challenging. If farmers can’t grow crops, then our food security is as risk. Gradually, the field of agtech is attempting to address this issue.
There are increasing numbers of FaaS (farming as a service) startups that are looking to help farmers manage crop yields and plug into IoT sensors or data such as weather platforms. Sencrop from France has raised $12 million, Augmenta (Greece) is a yield boosting platform that has raised $11.2 million and Ekylibre (France) is an open source ERP for farmers which has raised an undisclosed Series A.
Coming out of Vancouver, Canada is Semios, a “precision-farming” startup and one of the world’s largest independent agtech platforms. It has now raised $100 million in funding led by Morningside Group, a Boston-based private equity and impact VC firm.
Dr. Michael Gilbert, CEO of Semios, said: “Semios is on a mission to simplify the grower’s experience, leveraging big data analytics and machine learning to help them mitigate crop risk so they can focus on growing more food, more sustainably. We have seen first hand the challenges our customers are facing in the field -- from severe drought and devastating fires, to frost, reduced profitability and an increasing regulatory burden."
Asked if he thought there were competitors to his platform, Gilbert said: "There are numerous companies that provide elements of our comprehensive solution but we're unaware of anyone who's currently offering an integrated end-to-end solution that addresses the gamut of farmers' crop production requirements including annual planning, insect and disease control, water management through to regulatory reporting and compliance tools."
Semios has now raised a total of over $225 million in external capital to date, after a $100 million round, also led by Morningside Group, back in February 2020. This allowed it to go on an acquisition spree, rolling-up other third-party agricultural solutions into its crop management platform, including Altrac, Centricity and Agworld in 2021.
Mick Sawka, Morningside Investment Manager, commented: "Morningside invests in companies committed to tackling pressing global challenges head on. The ability to not only maintain but also enhance the sustainability of our food systems amid the complex dynamics of a changing climate is one of the world’s most pressing needs of our time."
Semios now has customers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and South Africa.