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Image credit: Sencrop

France’s Sencrop acquires sensor maker Visio-Green in start of consolidation play

February 13, 2020

Sencrop, which provides weather data to farmers throughout Europe with its agro-weather stations and sensors, has acquired Visio-Green Agriculture, a subsidiary of Latitude GPS in what Sencrop’s co-founder indicated would be the first “in a process of consolidation and bringing more value to farmers.”

Founded in 2016, Visio-Green makes sensors for agriculture including agro-weather stations and irrigation probes. It currently maintains 1,800 stations, which will be added to Sencrop’s existing network of 9,500 weather stations. It has a strong presence in Normandy, Champagne, Alsace, Beauce, and Picardie, as well as Italy making it an attractive buy for Sencrop. Sencrop acquired the brand to take advantage of its partnerships with cooperatives, agribusinesses, chambers of agriculture, and agricultural unions, and also to give its farmers more personalized advice.

“This is the first acquisition for Sencrop,” Martin Ducroquet, co-founder and managing director of Sencrop wrote to AFN via email, adding that they’d consider more in the future. “Our mission is to empower all farmers to make better decisions and reduce their crop risks with a positive agro-environmental footprint. So, if there is any opportunity to consider in that way to enrich or include our data-driven digital platform, we will consider the benefits, feasibility, and impact.”

He added that Sencrop’s approach to acquisitions will vary. In some instances, it will look for what it calls customer acquisition to accelerate its penetration in the precision farming market. In others, it will look for value-added solutions to improve accuracy and precision in terms of local weather data and in-field data in real-time.

Consolidation is a growing trend in agtech these days, after years of speculation by venture capitalists in the space that so-called “roll-ups” would become a feature of the industry, whereby startups acquire others in the same vertical to create more comprehensive solutions for farmers, as Ducroquet suggests. Single, point solutions are not going to provide enough value for farmers — or their venture capital investors who need a decent return  Last month, soil sensing and data analytics company CropX acquired smart irrigation provider CropMetrics, and Spanish startup PlantResponse Biotech has made two acquisition in recent months, acquiring a spin-off from Koch Industries last year and more recently Pathway BioLogic. As various segments of agtech reach new levels of maturity, entrenched players are able to yield more power when it comes to buying up emerging companies or competition. As Conservis’ Pat Christie told AFN recently, he has doubts about whether Conservis would be as successful if it launched today compared to several years ago.

Currently, 10,000 farmers use Sencrop’s data including farmers, winegrowers, and fruit growers in 14 countries. The technology it offers is designed to support decisionmaking with ultra-local data about individual plots. Farmers can select the specific weather station from which they want to retrieve data to achieve this hyper-local impact.

Launched in 2016, Sencrop began at the Lille, France-based EuraTechnologies business accelerator. It has raised roughly $11.5 million to date, including a $10 million Series A last year, and won the top award for its technology at the 2017 SIMA Innovation Awards ceremony.

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