VitalFields announced recently that it has secured $1.2 million in Series A funding from an international syndicate of investors, including SmartCap, the investment arm of the taxpayer-funded Estonian Development Fund, and an undisclosed large Silicon Valley based investor. Prior investors in the business include the founders of Skype, TMT Investments, and a number of Estonian Angel Investors.
VitalFields was created three years ago after former Skype and Playtech Estonia employees saw a need to make farm management more efficient. In its early days, the company participated in the Startup Wise Guys accelerator in Tallinn, Estonia, and focused on providing early-warning system technologies to farm operations. Today, the company provides cloud-based software and integrated mobile applications, or apps, that monitor plant disease, plant growth, climate patterns, and phase modeling.
VitalFields also provides agronomy advice and farm management support through its user-friendly platform. The company claims that its software offers the simplest farm management software available, and that it is already operational in the three largest European agricultural countries: Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. To date, the company reports over 500,000 acres under management with VitalFields’ software tools.
According to CEO Martin Rand, “We recently launched the VitalFields app for machine operators and field workers to end the era of paperwork in the agricultural business. The new capital will be used for further product development and boosting VitalFields’ presence in several European countries.”
The new application is designed to work with www.vitalfields.com, which operates as a holistic farm management tool to assist farmers with operational management, planning, reporting, and analytics. The app allows farmers to assign tasks to field workers and to track progress, which eliminates the need for lengthy phone calls with employees or detailed paperwork. Additionally, once a task is finished, the fieldbook is updated automatically, in addition to other reports and benchmarking analytics. The app performs a variety of other functions, including field scouting, data records, and navigation, all of which can be performed online as well as offline.
Regarding the investment deal, SmartCap investor Stanislov Ivanov said, “For SmartCap, VitalFields marks the presence in such a significant field as agriculture, which exhibits strong growth potential, which needs to be assisted by higher efficiency, for example by applying cutting-edge technological solutions. VitalFields has all necessary ingredients to become an indispensable tool for farmers in Europe and elsewhere and for SmartCap it is important to be on board” According to Ivanov, SmartCap targets ambitious start-ups featuring unique business models that enable global expansion. “We saw the potential of VitalFields when doing initial investment and we continue to support their vision.”
“The efficiency of farmers depends on very different factors from weather to financials to planning and operational management. We believe we have found the ingredients to success since VitalFields is one of few farm management solutions which has scaled cross border,” Rand said. According to the company, it boasts a customer retention rate of close to 90 percent, and reports that roughly 89 percent of its customers record their operational field data.
Recently, the farm data management sector has seen quite a bit of interest from a wide variety of investors. Earlier this month, Farmers Business Network announced a $15 million funding round led by Google Ventures, and late last year FarmLogs scored a $10 million Series B round. Additionally, award-winning Farmers Edge and Mitsui announced earlier this month that they have entered into an investment deal.
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