Solinftec, a Brazilian digital agriculture company and an AgFunder portfolio company, announced today that it plans to invest $50.6 million to establish its US headquarters near Purdue University, creating 90 jobs in 2019 and up to 334 high-wage jobs by 2022.
Solinftec uses a suite of technologies including proprietary hardware, a telemetry communications network, and a software-as-a-service platform to help farmers monitor the status and progress of their machines in the field based on their positioning and what activity they’re undertaking. Solinftec can also give clients a verifiable record of their harvest and traceability from the farm to the truck to the mill, without any human input.
The company is currently running on over 16 million acres and monitoring 20,000 pieces of equipment with over 100,000 daily active users and 65% of the Brazilian sugarcane market.
“Solinftec has shown a passion for discovering innovative solutions to improve agriculture operations through science, engineering and more recently AI,” said Daniel Padrão, Solinftec’s chief operating officer. “That is why we are excited about the opportunity to work with a renowned research university such as Purdue and its College of Agriculture as we continue to expand our platforms into new geographies.”
The $50.6 million includes investment in software and computer hardware to expand its innovations to the US and increase its tech-based offerings for US customers in the agriculture industry.
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Solinftec is familiar with Indiana after working with Kip Tom’s Tom Farms to trial its technology on row crops in the US.
“The US Midwest is core to our strategy; we recognize its importance in the global food and its ag ecosystem. We are humbled and thrilled to launch our US headquarters out of the state of Indiana. We thank the state government, AgriNovus Indiana, Purdue University and Tom Farms for their vision on supporting this initiative and for everyone’s Hoosier hospitality,” said Renato Hersz, Solinftec’s strategy and corporate development director.
Another factor in Solinftec’s decision was the opportunity to work with the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network(WHIN), a consortium of 10 counties in north-central Indiana working to harness the power of internet-enabled sensors to develop the region into a global epicenter of digital agricultural and next-generation manufacturing. A recent $40 million grant from Lilly Endowment established the network.
“Following on the heels of Inari’s decision to locate its Seed Foundry at Purdue, this shows that the Wabash Heartland area, with Purdue as an economic magnet, has a very real chance of becoming a world center of precision agriculture,” Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said.
“Indiana is at the center of innovation in agtech, and today’s news is yet another example of the collaborative ecosystem we’ve created here,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb added. “Solinftec choosing to locate its first US operation, Tecsoil USA, and its headquarters in Tippecanoe County will not only create hundreds of high-skilled, high-wage jobs, but it will bolster an industry that is developing new solutions, improving agricultural products consumed around the world, and enabling farmers in Indiana and beyond to grow their operations.”
Solinftec’s first virtual assistance technology called ‘Alice’ involves installing a smart black box in agricultural equipment and sensors in the field under a user-friendly platform.
Solinftec’s first virtual assistance technology called ‘Alice’ involves installing a smart black box in agricultural equipment and sensors in the field under a user-friendly platform. The company serves large international growers such as Raízen, which reports more than 3,000 monitored equipment, the largest telemetry system in the world. Other international companies served by Solinftec include Tereos, Cofco, and British Petroleum all in the field of sugar cane crops, and Amaggi, Bom Futuro e Terra Santa, a grower in row crops.
Among the 10 largest companies in the sugar and ethanol sector, eight are customers of the company, and among the five largest producers of grains and fibers, three are in its portfolio.
AgFunder invested in Solinftec’s Series B round last year alongside private equity behemoth TPG.