With Farmers Business Network, Google invests in connected agriculture

by bold-lichterman

The amount

Farmers now have their professional social network. Farmers Business Network, an American start-up which publishes an information platform between farmers, has just completed a funding round of 15 million dollars (13.5 million euros) with Google Ventures, as main investor, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and DBL Investors.

In the end, this new operation brings the total amounts raised by the company since its creation to nearly $ 28 million. At the end of this new investment, Andy Wheeler, general partner from Google’s fund, joined the board.

The market

Founded in 2014 in San Carlos, California, by Charles Baron and Amol Deshpande, Farmers Business Network publishes a network for sharing and analyzing information produced by farmers themselves. To do this, the company is developing a community of professionals who agree to open up their data, whether it is for example the yield of their land or even their planting practices. Once completed, the platform analyzes the information, offers diagnostics and assesses the factors that influence harvests. The aim is to help farmers make better decisions, such as choosing the most suitable seeds for their land. More than 490 different varieties would thus already be referenced.

Agriculture is the backbone of humanity. Today’s farmers have to produce more with less arable land and water. Input costs rise, while crop prices fall, explains Charles Baron, the co-founder. Farmers have advised one another for thousands of years. FBN gives them a platform to do it with real information and at scale, so they can make more informed decisions. “.

On the economic model side, the offer is marketed as a service (Saas), in the form of a single annual subscription, the price of which is set at $ 500 per month. This gives access to a benchmark and land analysis, study results or unlimited data storage. The solution also allows farmers to collaborate with their employees.

Goals

With this new investment, FBN wants to expand the use of its platform at the national level by working with more farmers in the country. Because the company is not alone in this market and must deal with competition from many players, including Climate Corp, a heavyweight in the sector for which the giant Mosanto spent $ 930 million in 2013 to get their hands on it. Google Ventures had already invested in this company. In France, many start-ups are also positioning themselves in the connected agriculture market [en savoir plus avec notre article: [Agriculture] Big data is in the meadow, editor’s note].

Founders: Charles Baron and Amol Deshpande

Creation: 2014

The head office : San Carlos, California (United States)

Market : agriculture, Big data, data analysis

Funding: $ 28 million raised

Photo credit: Farmers Business Network