It was an exciting year in farm technology involving a few high profile venture capital exits and some of the largest deals on record, writes AgFunder.com’s Emma Cosgrove.
In fact, funding records for this category and the subcategories within were broken more than once during the course of the year.
Check out the largest funding rounds of 2017:
1. Indigo Agriculture – $203 million – Series D
Just this month Indigo Agriculture, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup, closed its Series D funding round on $203 million, the largest fundraising effort by a farm tech company on record. Indigo’s product portfolio includes microbial seed coatings for corn, soy, wheat, and cotton. These coatings help crops to withstand environmental stressors such as drought, high temperatures, salty soils or low nitrogen and bolster resistance to disease and pests. The company also claims its products produce higher quality crops, such as increasing the protein content of wheat. Indigo does not sell its microbial coated seed product to farmers like most ag input suppliers; instead, the company enters into contracts with farmers, providing them with the seed at the start of the season and then purchasing their harvest for a guaranteed, premium price.
Investors: Investment Corporation of Dubai, Flagship Pioneering, Alaska Permanent Fund, Baillie Gifford, Activant Capital.
2. Plenty – $200 million – Series A
Indoor vertical farming company Plenty raised $200 million in a Series B round of funding announced in July (at the time the largest farm tech investment though the record did not last the year.) Plenty uses a vertical growing plane to grow leafy greens in a 52,000 square foot South San Francisco facility. The Series B — which brought total funding for the startup to $226 million — is being out to use on new farms and new hires. In November, the company announced its next farm will be in Kent, WA. The 100,000 sq. ft. indoor vertical farm will open in mid-2018 and will represent Plenty’s first “full-scale” farm. The company is also looking to employ roughly 50 new employees. Fellow vertical farming entrepreneur AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg said at the time: “This is a monster raise, and ultimately competition can be good for the industry to drive further advancement.”
Investors: SoftBank Vision Fund, Affiliates of Louis M. Bacon, the founder of Moore Capital Management, Innovation Endeavors, Bezos Expeditions, DCM, Data Collective, and Finistere Ventures.