Growers overcomes challenge of Big Data in Agriculture, raises $5m to expand
September 12th, 2018
Raleigh, NC – Growers Holdings, Inc (www.growers.ag) has raised a $5M Series A financing led by St. Louis-based Lewis and Clark Ventures. Growers provides software + services that help farmers and their trusted advisors utilize farm data to simplify decision making and increase profitability. In addition to Lewis and Clark, the syndicate included multiple investors with extensive AgTech expertise including new investors Innova Memphis and the VTC Innovation Fund managed by Middleland Capital. All the company’s existing investors also participated, including Tiverton Advisors LLC, Albany Private Equity Partners, and Maize Partners.
Lewis and Clark Principal Larry Page explains, “Growers’ platform is wholly unique. At Lewis & Clark, we’ve evaluated hundreds of AgTech companies. Few truly understand the complexities of delivering farm data analytics at scale the way Growers does, and few have a track record of delivering 10 to 20 percent yield improvements with fewer inputs across hundreds of thousands of acres.”
Since inception, Growers has helped farmers generate $50M more in incremental crop revenue and reduced commercial fertilizer application by over 160M tons, while increasing yield and materially reducing the environmental impact of row crop agriculture. Founder and CEO Steven Valencsin says, “Precise management, analysis and execution of farm data can create dramatic on-farm results and increased profitability for farmers. The problem is, many of the digital tools on the market today are only partial solutions or are too cumbersome. Growers products and services were built by farmers, for farmers.” By developing a process to capture highly accurate field data at scale and coupling that with easy-to-use software, Growers meets the needs of the most progressive, large-scale row crop farmers.
Growers software + service offers several distinct advantages the company passes onto their customers. Valencsin notes, “We have built one of the largest independent data sets for soil ranking and product performance. Our hybrid selection and product placement technologies offer farmers a refreshing solution that is brand agnostic, independent, and validated by hundreds of thousands of acres of real results.” Coupled with proprietary soil analytics, Growers recommendations routinely deliver a 3-5x ROI. Customers have reported “bottom-line” increases of more than $100/ac.
The company plans to use the new funding to accelerate software development and grow their channel-based business. “We’re excited to work with Lewis and Clark Ventures and our other investors and use this financing to better serve our customers and expand to new markets,” said Valencsin. While the company has historically employed a direct-to-farmer model, select partners in the ag industry now have access to the tools and technologies Growers has created.
The management team is rounded out with two executives with deep AgTech experience. Ron Zink, who was previously Director of Digital Solutions at John Deere, was hired in June 2017 as Chief Technology Officer, leading product development. Gabriel Wilmoth, previously an Investment Director at Syngenta Ventures, joined in Dec 2017 as Chief Operating Officer. Growers’ 30 employees cover a 15 state territory and are headquartered in both Raleigh, North Carolina and Seattle, Washington.
About Lewis and Clark Ventures
Lewis & Clark Ventures was founded by former operators with the conviction that innovation and entrepreneurial talent are plentiful between the U.S. coasts. Our venture capital firm invests in the highest potential Series A and B stage companies throughout America’s heartland in sectors such as enterprise software, healthcare IT and agriculture technology. Our vision for success is to become a trusted partner to every entrepreneur that we back and assist in their journey towards scale and significance.
Innova is an early-stage venture capital firm that was founded in 2007 by Memphis Bioworks. The firm focuses on starting and funding high-growth companies in the Medical, Technology and AgTech fields that match both Innova’s expertise, as well as the region’s industry strengths. Innova has invested in over 100 companies and has been recognized by Crunchbase, Forbes, and SSTI in their rankings of most active investors. Innova provides the synergy of experienced management, market expertise and venture capital to accelerate the development of new products and services into thriving businesses. For additional information please visit www.innovamemphis.com.
About Middleland and the VTC Innovation Fund
Managed by Middleland Capital, the VTC Innovation Fund is a private investment fund focused on early stage life science and technology opportunities across the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as opportunities outside Virginia with a connection to Virginia Tech or Carilion Clinic. The Fund aims to partner with exceptional management teams to commercialize innovative technologies, accelerate growth, and build long-term value. For more information, please visit www.vtcinnovationfund.com.
Tiverton Advisors, LLC (“Tiverton”) is a private investment firm focused solely on the production Ag space. The firm invests in both credit and equity structures throughout the United States. Tiverton oversees approximately $1 billion in assets and manages investments on behalf of leading institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals and insurance companies. For more information, please visit: www.tiverton.ag
About Albany Private Equity Partners
Albany Private Equity Partners, an affiliate of The Albany Group, LLC, is a Texas-based strategic capital provider focused on industry-leading companies and teams that are seeking a true partner as they embark on their next phase of growth. The Family Office has been investing in multiple asset classes and industries for 50+ years which allows us the flexibility and patience to apply our institutional experience with a family office approach.
About Maize Partners
Maize Partners is a Texas investment firm focused on real estate and agriculture. The firm invests private equity and private debt into high-growth business plans. Additional information can be found at www.maizepartners.com.