AgFunder, a new crowdfunding investment platform for agricultural and ag-related technologies has wrapped up its first successful campaign with the close of a seed investment for OnFarm, a provider of data and analytics software for farmers.
In all six investors, including one undisclosed institutional investor, committed $800,000 to the company’s initial round of funding, according to OnFarm chief executive Lance Donny.
Based in Fresno, Calif., OnFarm grew out of Donny’s own experience growing up on his family’s grape farm in California.
After spending several years in a career in software, Donny headed back to the farm to be the chief financial officer at PureSense, an Oakland, Calif.-based company selling irrigation management technology.
While Donny worked at PureSense he began to see a budding problem inherent in the growth of technologies and services for the agricultural industry. There were a number of new tools available to farmers that purported to help them with specific needs, but there was no tool to integrate all of that data in a format that was easily digestible.
Enter OnFarm. “We have an internet of things platform for agriculture and integrates disparate devices in the field into one software product,” Donny said. “We’re kind of the operating system for the farm.”
Though still in its infancy, the application of technology to the agricultural industry is beginning to receive more attention from investors, and has already garnered some significant exits.
Earlier this month, BioConsortia raised $14 million from Khosla Ventures and Otter Capital for its technology that could improve crop yields, while Granular, which was formerly known as Solum, added $4.2 million to its initial $17 million haul from Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Earlier in January, Farmlogs raised $4 million from Drive Capital, the midwestern venture firm launched by former Sequoia Capital partners Mark Kvamme and Chris Olsen.
In part, investors can thank the whopping $1.1 billion exit venture firms including Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Index Ventures, and Atomico scored when The Climate Corporation was acquired by Monsanto.
“For larger farms, ag-tech is becoming well adopted and the return on investment has been proven out over the last several years,” said Donny.