Connecterra, a Dutch animal health monitoring technology company, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding.
The company manufactures wearable devices for dairy cows to monitor their health in real-time using machine learning and sensor technology.
“For DeNA it’s an artificial intelligence play; all the best AI engineers come across from the video game industry, where they’ve been doing it for years, into more mainstream technology. For us it was important to have an investor that knows that Asia Pacific region, which obviously have huge dairy markets,” said Yasir Khokhar, CEO of Connecterra.
Dairy wearables are nothing new and the industry could almost be attributed with the rise of wearables industry more broadly as cows have been wearing pedometers for at least 20 years. But the devices on the market today and previously, have been hardware technologies for the most part. In order to make use of the information coming from them, farmers and their advisors have had to analyze the data themselves.
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Farmers today are drowning in data and as much of the broader agtech industry is realizing, they do not have the time, inclination nor resources to handle all the data coming their way.
Connecterra is hoping to remove that burden using machine learning to interpret the data for the farmer, in the cloud.
“Connecterra is not a wearable play for us, it’s sensor technology plus machine learning, which we’re combining to get something unique,” said Khokhar.
Until now, Connecterra has been funded through a European Commission grant — “one of the great things about Europe” — so this funding round will go towards scaling the company, which is currently just six people. This includes hiring more staff, manufacturing more devices, executing a go-to-market strategy with trial customers, and starting to sell subscriptions, according to its business model.
Agtech startups using machine learning and artificial intelligence in their products are growing in number and range from biotech plays such as Benson Hill Biosystems and Nuritas, to satellite imagery comany like Descartes Labs.
Expect to see Connecterra return to the market in 2017 for its Series A.
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