Estonian startup, VitalFields, which offers web and mobile apps to put farm management into the cloud and harness otherwise untapped farm-related data, has raised €500,000 in follow-on funding.
The round was led by original backer SmartCap, the venture capital arm of the Estonian Development Fund, with participation from new investor TMT Investments. Previous backers Wiser Financial Advisors, and Arvi Tavast, also participated, along with Ahti Heinla (one of the first Skype engineers) and Andres Kull. This brings total funding to €750,000, after VitalFields raised €250,000 in late 2012.
Founded in 2011 at the Garage48 hackathon, and also an alumni of accelerator Startup Wise Guys, we first described VitalFields as an agricultural early warning system. Its cloud-based wares help farmers do things like plant disease and growth phase modelling, tracking climatic patterns, and other farm management-related activity such as farm planning, stock management and P&L reports.
In other words, it’s another classic SaaS play, replacing old, largely, paper-based ways of doing things, or using legacy and expensive software, or tools that were never really designed to do the job. To that end, VitalFields also provides a degree of automation, consolidating various data, including hyperlocal weather reports and plant disease-related information, that would be otherwise difficult for a human to track manually.
VitalFields says it counts 1,500 farms as customers worldwide, and that today’s new capital will enable it to customise its solution for several new countries in Europe this year. It will also invest in R&D, specifically around analytics so that farmers can become more efficient based on the knowledge accumulated from similar farms, with a heavy dose of machine-learning. That’s potentially very beneficial since, as we’ve previously noted, smaller farms don’t always have access to or make great use of data, instead relying on less scientific practices.