Agrilyst – which has re-branded to Artemis – has closed an $8 million Series A funding co-led by two London-based investors, impact group Astanor Ventures and tech firm Talis Capital with participation from existing investors New York State’s Empire State Development Fund and the MidWest’s iSelect Fund. This brings the company’s total funding to nearly $12 million.
Artemis offers a software-as-a-service platform to help indoor agriculture operations to maximize their efficiency. The platform offers workflow management tools, inventory tracking, and pest and nutrient management. The company analyzes data about these metrics to provide growers with recommendations on the best way to fine-tune their growing plans and increase profitability. Since launching in 2015, it has seen strong customer growth with companies worth a collective $5 billion using the platform daily by its estimate.
Along with its new name, the company will roll out a new logo, branding, and overall messaging beginning in June.
“Artemis is the goddess of all things living. The decision to rebrand came about as we started to expand into enterprise, and added more operations across state and country borders. The majority of the worker population who uses our product does not speak English. They speak Spanish, French, and Arabic,” Artemis founder and CEO Allison Kopf told AFN. “We wanted a name that transcends our buyer and that resonates across our full user base.”
Artemis’ shift towards enterprise-level operations, which includes businesses generating upwards of $5 million in revenue, started in 2018 when the team recognized that there were boundless opportunities to assist large-scale operators with streamlining their operations and improving their margins.
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“Part of the reason for the shift in focus is that the opportunity is bigger for us. What our system is good at doing is managing people, plants, processes, and compliance — things oriented around the bottom line. The problems that arise from managing these things are exponentially bigger for enterprise growers because they have larger facilities in different cities or states and they are managing a lot of people,” Kopf explains.
The Series A round will be focused entirely on helping the New York-based startup secure its foothold among large-scale growers. To aid its expansion efforts, Artemis has two superstar members to its Board of Directors including Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, the former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture under President Obama and the first Executive Director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University. Charlie O’Donnell, partner and founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, also joins the board. O’Donnell led the startup’s seed round.
“Dr. Merrigan is an advocate for ag in general and especially women in agriculture. She is a great partner for us because of her background in ag and because she is a huge champion for what we are doing. She knows our customer, our market, and knows what we are trying to build here,” says Kopf. “In her new capacity, she has a lot of opportunities to be around young people innovating.”
In 2018, Artemis completed an undisclosed strategic round with Horizons Ventures with the aim of entering the Chinese market. From its early days, growth has always been a focus for the indoor ag startup. The company reported 500% growth in revenue and customers between 2016 and 2018, offering its product in 10 countries and helping cultivate 800 different crop varieties including fruits, vegetables, flowers, cannabis, and hemp.
Although the startup didn’t start out by providing solutions for cannabis growers, it quickly added the feature to its platform around the same time that it started targeting enterprise growers. It provides some aspects of regulatory compliance capabilities and the system compliments many of the existing regulatory compliance tracking systems on the market, according to Kopf. Compliance has been a focus beyond the cannabis space, particularly in light of recent enhancements in food safety regulations for produce growers. The platform now allows users to create logs that provide information about a number of data points including people, standard operating procedures, and production.
“The logs are available in whatever form you need them and they are easily searchable. You can create logs to give to a food safety auditor or to pass on to an integrated system for cannabis compliance. We’ve made the process tremendously easy for growers to trace and track the product throughout the whole production cycle,” she adds.
With any expansion-related goals, there are always challenges. For Artemis, finding enough people to support its growth has proven difficult. The company is currently hiring for a wide variety of positions throughout the organization from sales to engineering.