HarvestPort, the online farm equipment and services marketplace, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Chicago-headquartered agtech venture capital firm Cultivian Sandbox Ventures. Existing investor Taylor Farms, through its venture arm, also joined the round.
HarvestPort connects individuals and businesses seeking to sell, rent, and/or perform services with equipment, and those looking to borrow assets to fulfill an operational need. “Cultivian was long our top pick as an investor,” said Brian Dawson, CEO of HarvestPort. “They bring a nuanced understanding of the cyclical nature of field-level agriculture. And, equally important in a venture capital partner, they are regular dudes — zero smug factor — who are interested in collaborating in a true side-by-side partnership.”
“Having Taylor Farms re-invest is a fantastic endorsement of the forward momentum HarvestPort has achieved since our seed round,” he added.
The platform matches borrowers and lenders based on needs, price, and location.
Based in California, the HarvestPort team saw early on that many agribusinesses were leaving equipment idle for months on end while others struggled to afford purchasing equipment outright.
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“We’ve long been interested in how to make the practice of agriculture more financially viable for farmers,” said Dan Philips, principal at Cultivian, who will join the HarvestPort board. “By creating a trusted platform to easily lend, borrow and rent agricultural assets and services, HarvestPort allows farmers to mitigate future capital expenditures while turning existing equipment into revenue producing assets. It also helped that HP is led by an outstanding founding team with deep industry experience and impressive track records. We’re excited to be their partners.”
Users have a seasonal planning dashboard where they can plan leases or rentals ahead of time, taking into account variables like the weather, government regulations, and market prices.
While HarvestPort does not arrange delivery and transport of the equipment, it prompts users to document the terms around transportation to record the key logistics and financial information.
HarvestPort invoices the borrower for the lease, tracks the equipment, and ensures accountability through an online contract.
The startup will use the proceeds of the Series A for product development as it expands the categories of equipment on offer through the platform.
Initially starting with harvesting bins, an obvious seasonal asset that farmers left idle for months on end, farmers can now borrow across multiple categories of assets, equipment, infrastructure like cold storage space, as well as services.
This includes heavy machinery, farm implements, transport assets, site services, irrigation equipment, power and lighting, and supply chain assets like pallets and bins.
HarvestPort users include professional suppliers, equipment dealerships, as well as agribusinesses and farming groups.
The company will use the funding for growth and product development including improving the platform’s intuitive search functionality.