Livestock monitoring and data analysis startup AgriWebb has raised $3 million in seed funding in a round led by existing investors and Australian fund manager John Murray.
Al Hamra Group, the investment firm connected to the United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi, also contributed to the round alongside local agriculture groups and farmers.
AgriWebb’s goal is to leverage the data coming off pastoral livestock farms to improve their efficiency and profitability. Through its mobile app, AgriWebb is also a record-keeping tool for producers, which they can feed into their budgeting, business analytics, and reporting processes.
“The whole product is very visual and is based on a map of the farm with drag and drop functionality that’s very farmer friendly,” said Kevin Baum, CEO of the company. “AgriWebb can help farmers to keep their records on the go as opposed to the heavy desktop solutions many are using — or trying to use — currently.”
As well as the record keeping tool, AgriWebb offers farm management tools such as the ability to create to-do lists next to each field, track inputs on pasture land and any complementary cropping land that a livestock farmer might have. This feeds into a decision support tool offering insights based on reports about stocking rates, fertility, sales, treatments, and feed.
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Much of the data entry is by the farmers themselves at this point, but AgriWebb is working on integrating with various devices and software programs such as the electronic identification tags livestock wear, soil sensors, and point of sale software platforms to connect farmers to their supply chains.
Farm management software tools have stormed the agriculture sector in recent years with a recent research report estimating that they will be worth over $4 billion by 2022. But most of the current solutions on the market — and those referenced in the report — are focused on arable farming.
PastureMap is the only one above that’s based in the US; the others are in Australia or New Zealand. AgriWebb plans to explore the US in due course, where pasture-raised beef is rarer — about 70% of pastured beef is imported — but it’s growing in popularity as consumers increasingly seek grass-fed beef. Some estimates suggest the grass-fed beef sector represents 7% of the industry today but is growing 25-30% year-over-year in the US.
“We are very geared towards Australia and adding value to different production systems at the moment, but we are very interested in looking at the US, which is the biggest cattle market in the world,” said Baum. “We need to do more work and probably have a local partner before going there, so it’s a bit further down the line. What’s challenging about livestock globally is that there are lots of different management techniques.”
AgriWebb has over 300 clients in Australia today across around 400-500 farms, from hobby farms to larger enterprises.
“We’ve taken a bit of a bottom-up approach compared to some software companies out there that are more geared towards the larger operations,” said Baum. “Those larger operations tend to have a back office and a lot of individual animal tracking, whereas smaller farmers do not. We believe tracking is the future and recognize that 80% of producers don’t track livestock individually, so we’re targeting that wider base.”
As part of this funding round, AgriWebb received a $575k grant from the Australian government under a scheme called Accelerating Commercialisation. This match funding took the seed round to nearly $3.6 million.
Who is AgriWebb’s biggest competitor? “Pen and paper at this point,” said Baum. “A lot of farmers have gone back to pen and paper after unsuccessfully trying out clunky desktop software programs, so we’re still trying to disrupt that mentality.”
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