CommonGround, a data-centric real estate marketplace for farmland, has raised $3 million in seed funding in a round led by AgFunder and top US land brokerages and landowners The Peoples Company, The Land Guys and Mossy Oak Franchises among others. [Disclosure: AgFunder is AFN’s parent company].
Farmland real estate is a $3 trillion dollar industry that has historically lacked transparency. CommonGround is changing that by allowing landowners, farmers, and brokers to value their ground quickly and put it up for sale or lease via traditional listings or online auctions. It then uses proprietary technology to facilitate the price discovery, listing, leasing, selling and management of farm and recreational land.
According to CommonGround, which has re-branded from its previous name CashRent, this funding positions the startup as the largest marketplace for renting, buying, and selling land, enabling it to further invest in its technology platform GroundOS and bring on new talent.
Over the past year, CommonGround has experienced significant growth including increasing revenue growth by over five times and land listings on the platform by over three times.
“It’s a testament to our product to have our customers participate in our funding round,” said CommonGround co-founder, Noah Berkson. “We’re focused on ensuring our customers can continue to thrive in an increasingly digital and competitive industry.”
Serial entrepreneur Chris Baumann developed the vision for CashRent.com after purchasing his first piece of farmland. When he purchased the property, it came with a current tenant farmer that made lease payments for the opportunity to grow crops on the ground, but Baumann realized he had no idea if he was getting a fair rate. In searching for resources to become a more informed land owner, he discovered that he wasn’t the only one with this problem; that the farm lease industry was notoriously opaque.
Baumann saw the opportunity to build an open, transparent marketplace for cash rental agreements and reached out to his lifelong friend and land broker with 20+ years of experience, Brad Belser, to make it happen.
“One-third of US farmland, with a value of $1 trillion, will transition ownership in the next 15 years and more than half of US farmland is rented,” says Quinten Eggink, senior associate at AgFunder. “The selling and renting of farmland is a massive market that is underserved by technology – landowners have no idea what their land is worth; farmers that want to grow their operations are short of access to new land; and brokers lack the tools to ensure their clients get the best deal. CommonGround allows all stakeholders to benefit from an open marketplace with complete price transparency.”