*** UPDATE: Added comments from Dupont vice president, strategic service and planning John Chrosniak and Granular CEO Sid Gorham ***
Dupont Pioneer has acquired farm management software platform startup Granular for $300 million, AgFunderNews has confirmed.
Granular CEO Sid Gorham will continue to helm Granular while also taking over digital agriculture for DuPont, which includes responsibility for DuPont’s agronomic software business.
Dupont vice president of strategic service and planning John Chrosniak told AgFunderNews that adding farm management software to the company’s digital offering is the result of conversations with their customers.
“When we talk to growers about their needs, the things that come up beyond agronomy really are the business of farming: marketing, risk financing, landlord management. Agronomy is important but it’s often not the most important thing,” said Chrosniak.
Based in San Francisco, California, Granular’s farm management software helps farmers run more profitable businesses by enabling them to manage their operations and analyze their financials for each of their fields in real time. Granular also enables farmers to create reports for third parties like landowners and banks.
“Dupont Pioneer and Granular share a lot of customers and I think our reputation and position in the industry was really key for them,” said Tamar Tashjian, a VP at Granular.
Granular and DuPont met during the startup’s Series B fundraising in 2015. According to Tashjian, conversations quickly evolved from investment to acquisition as Granular’s farm management platform complements DuPont’s existing digital agriculture agronomy product Encirca services. Though the platforms will now exist under the umbrella of DuPont, they will keep their respective locations with Granular and Gorham remaining in San Francisco. Executives from the respective firms confirmed that Granular is currently used on 2 million acres and Encirca used on 3 million.
Tashjian said the deal could streamline operations for growers. “Today growers use a lot of different tools to make a lot of different decisions and so while the products won’t come together tomorrow, we want to make it a lot easier for growers so that you’re not duplicating what you’re entering in.”
Gorham said that a full integration of the tools is likely not in the cards. “We’re not going to smash them into one big monolithic product,” he said.
Both Gorham and Chrosniak agreed that Granular’s simplicity is its strength. They said that complexity is part of what has made farmer adoption of agtech platforms slow.
“Nobody has made it easy enough for them. If you look at the tech choices, it has been too much work for the benefit,” said Gorham.
Granular has raised $24.9 million to date in two rounds. The company’s 2015 Series B round was led by new investor and Californian family office Tao Capital Partners. Tao is known for being an investor in Uber, Tesla, and SolarCity, and was joined in the round by other new investors Emory Investment Management, Fall Line Capital, and H. Barton Asset Management.
“It’s great that we’re starting to see exits. Granular has built a great system that was clearly attractive to the majors. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the industry responds because there’s not a lot of companies like Granular in the market,” said AgFunder’s Rob LeClerc.
Closing of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected in the third quarter.
Granular has an existing product development and co-marketing agreement with John Deere, announced at the end of July, which will remain in place.
Last year, the farm management software startup partnered with the American Farm Bureau Insurance Services to streamline the crop insurance data collection and reporting processes for agents and their customers.
In 2015 Granular acquired AcreValue, a farmland valuation platform, for an undisclosed amount. San Francisco-based Granular offers a farm management and analytics platform that aims to help farmers increase efficiency, yield, and profit.
The merger between Dow Chemical and Dupont is set to formally close August 31, 2017.