Israeli digital ag startup Prospera has raised a $15 million Series B round for its end-to-end internet of things platform for indoor and outdoor farms.
The round, which follows a $7 million Series A last year, was led Qualcomm Ventures — the San Diego-based venture arm of the global semiconductor and telecommunications company Qualcomm — and fellow telecom heavyweight Cisco, investing through its venture outfit as well.
“Receiving funding from these major tech companies is a clear signal that tech industry heavy-hitters understand that agriculture is ripe for digitalization. It means that such companies, which are already involved in digitizing other traditional industries, see a significant opportunity in agtech.” Prospera CEO Daniel Koppel told AgFunderNews.
Propsera uses computer vision, machine learning, and data science to detect and identify diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and other types of crop stress on farms with the hope of improving crop yields and saving farmer costs. Prospera’s system can also detect when a crop has been harvested and keep automatic records for farmers.
Starting with mainly greenhouse customers in the US, Europe, and Mexico, Prospera has expanded its software-as-a-service model to outdoor crops in the last year and will use the proceeds this round to further expand its distribution and diversify the crops and operations using the tech.
The company confirmed that one of its larger customers is Naturesweet Tomatoes, a large US-based greenhouse grower of specialty tomatoes with greenhouses in the US and Mexico. It also has multiple field growers as clients with more than 30,000 acres under management.
“The shift [from indoors to outdoors] has huge implications as our system is now able to transform any existing farm, be it indoor or outdoor, into a digital plant. In the US specifically, with about 40% of US land being farmland, we’re very excited to be entering that market and helping those farmers transform and optimize the way their farms operate,” said Koppel.
Koppel said that farmer adoption is speeding up since he spoke to AgFunderNews last year, “We find that farmers today are very responsive and are willing to commit and move forward more quickly with the process because they already know and trust us before they sign on.”
Boaz Peer of Qualcomm Ventures told AgFunderNews that Prospera’s tech was “complementary” to Qualcomm’s expertise, where the venture arm focuses on “frontier tech” that offers new applications for smartphone technologies.
“We have seen the agtech sector grow significantly in recent years as innovations in drone, satellite mapping, AI and IoT have greatly enhanced the ability to improve crop yield and positively impact overall farm management,” he said. “The primary drivers contributing to this growth include the affordability of sensors, wireless connectivity, and machine learning processing, both at the edge of the network and in the cloud. We believe the convergence of all of these elements is driving this trend and will positively impact the agtech sector, bringing forth greater efficiencies and improved ROI.”
Read more about Prospera’s technology stack here.