A lot of people in Silicon Valley are pretty obsessed with organic this and that. One or two startups have looked at the whole connecting-fams-with-consumers-directly model, even. So it’s odd that it’s taken a startup from little old Croatia to realise that it’s the farmers themselves that could use a little help. And let’s not be parochial about this. Farming is big business. The ‘market’ of medium and corporate-size farms around the world is worth a juicy $12 billion – but as of today it’s often run on outmoded systems. Thus, Farmeron.com, a startup billing itself as one of the world’s first agricultural SaaS companies, plans to change all that. It’s closed a $1.4 million seed (one time this word is highly appropriate) round co-led by Lee Hower of NextView Ventures and Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC. Other prominent angels – Evan Nisselson of LDV Capital, Niko Hrdy, Taavet Hinrikus – also participated.
The funds will be used to hire key management team members and to staff sales and support teams both in US and Europe.
Farmeron’s previous investors, Reshma Sohoni of Seedcamp, Dave McClure of 500startups and Robin Klein of TAG, also participated in the $1.4m seed round.
Dave McClure first spotted Farmeron last summer after they became one of the first Eastern European startups on AngelList. Founder Matija Kopic also met AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant who also invested, closing the loop.
But Farmeron is not coming out of the gate (loving these phrases) fresh. It already has farmers in fourteen countries using its platform, since launching in November 2011. The idea is to bring modern analytics to farming, both small and large. The startup is currently a livestock production SaaS solution but with plans to extend to other areas, and integrate all the data coming out of the average farm.
Use of Farmeron has spread from the super-farms of Southern Europe to 450 farms in 14 countries in the last five months and it now has a distribution partnership with
Germany-based Neelsen Agrar GmbH, an animal husbandry and farm logistics companies develops and operates dairy super-farms. The deal provides Farmeron with additional distribution to farmers in other countries.
Hower points out that that since the world population has passed 7 billion people agriculture will need to to become more efficient, driving up the use case for platforms like Farmeron.
It’s appropriate that Founder Matija Kopic’s was also born and raised on a farm and has direct experience of watching his father juggle farm production data on Excel spreadsheets and little else to help.
The problem they are aiming to solve is completely obvious when you just look at the data. An average modern dairy farmer owning 300 milking cows must spend at least 90 minutes per day creating manual data records and calculating production metrics to analyze the farm’s efficiency and profitability. That’s time and cost a struggling farmer can’t afford and they end up missing the hidden knowledge buried in this data, which leads to bad business decisions being made.
Kopic cleverly realised that while modern farming is advanced in machines and hardware, it is not in software. Let’s call that farmware shall we?
The company has moved from Croatia to London (via the Seedcamp accelerator) and now to Silicon Valley while its development team is in Osijek, Croatia.