Disclosure: AgFunder (our parent company) is an investor in Ganaz. Find out more about AgFunder’s portfolio here.
Ganaz, a US provider of tech-driven workforce management solutions for the agrifood industries, has raised $7 million in a Series A round led by Seattle-based VC firm Trilogy Equity Partners.
AgFunder also invested in the round, alongside Bessemer Venture Partners, Founders’ Co-op, Taylor Ventures, and Techstars.
Headquartered in Seattle, Ganaz describes itself as “the leading people platform” for the agriculture and food manufacturing sectors in North America.
Its software helps employers in these industries to onboard and train new hires, as well as pay them via its proprietary fintech offering. The data it collects allows it to provide workforce analytics services, too.
While 2020 was a difficult year for most businesses around the globe due to the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ganaz claims it saw “explosive growth,” expanding its client base of commercial growers tenfold and growing to work with more than 175,000 food industry workers.
Covid-19 only served to compound existing labor shortage problems in the US agrifood value chain. Farms and factories were particularly badly hit, due in no small part to an outsized reliance on immigrant manpower that could no longer cross borders amid pandemic-related movement restrictions, as well as ‘shelter in place’ mandates that kept workers at home where possible. As many as 56% of US farmers report an inability to hire the labor they need.
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“Supermarket consolidation and regulatory pressure” are also slicing agrifood employers’ margins even thinner, according to Ganaz.
The startup says it can lower costs for these businesses by automating time-consuming human resources processes such as hiring, training, communicating with employees, and salary and wage payments.
A knock-on effect of this automation is that workers are more likely to accept employment offers and stay with the employer, Ganaz claims. This is because agricultural workers lose up to 10% of their wages to “predatory” financial services like check cashing, overseas remittances, and payday loans, the startup says.
It’s for this reason that Ganaz is focusing much of its effort on developing a suite of lower cost financial services for these workers. Later this year, it is set to launch a Mastercard payments card aimed at unbanked farm labor.
“We are conscious of both the huge opportunity ahead of us to digitize billions of dollars in payroll, as well as the responsibility to build inclusive, low-cost, wealth-building tools for workers,” Hannah Freeman, Ganaz co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“This responsibility is one of the reasons we chose to become a public benefit corporation earlier this year. The investment from Trilogy and others gives us the ability to quickly scale our business and our impact by bringing in diverse talent to help us learn, grow and better serve the businesses and hard-working families that feed us.”
Ganaz said it will use the Series A funding to further expand its workforce management platform and financial services offering across North America.
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