PowWow, A Startup That Tracks Water Pump Health, Raises $3M

PowWow, a startup that specializes in technology like a tool that detect leaks and help farmers keep track of their water usage, has raised $3 million.

PowWow uses a combination of data from aerial imagery, water energy records and other kinds of data, and then sends farmers text messages with updates if there is a problem. Those problems can be something along the lines of finding a leak.

Even with few agriculture tech deals being done, a company like PowWow may find itself capable of garnering more attention due to the escalating drought in California. The company’s second project seeks to give farmers a way to optimize their irrigation schedule, as well as nutrition available in the soil in order to minimize their overhead.

“It’s much bigger undertaking compared to our first app,” CEO Olivier Jerphagnon said. “There have been very few pure agriculture deals because there’s concern in this industry that agriculture in California and the U.S. will be in jeopardy in the next 20 years.”

The funding is a combination of a grant from the state, and part of that funding will go the University of California Santa Barbara and UC Davis. Angel investors provided the remaining $700,000. Still, even with that funding, there will be challenges for PowWow, especially going forward as it continues to scale.

“Our job during the grant project is to show we can do it not only for 20 farms, but  to scale as a software business to sign up to 20,000 farms,” he said. “For venture capitalists, it’s risky to invest in agriculture technology because it’s hard to scale. The ability to scale has not been proven yet. Next year, when we show we show our results, we can go back to the venture capitalists.”