Updated Jan 6, 2020 to include comment from Indigo regarding FedEx participation.
Indigo Agriculture, the Boston-based agtech startup, has raised $200 million in convertible equity and debt from new and existing investors. The new investors are FedEx and Pacific Western Bank. The bridge round takes the company’s total funding to $850 million. It’s likely this is a bridge round to a larger raise later this year — reports last year indicated the company was working on a much larger round — although Indigo has not yet confirmed this and plans may have changed.
Indigo is a biotech, digital and data platform for farmers with a mission to decommoditize agriculture. It started with a microbe-based seed treatment in 2016 and has since evolved into an online grain marketplace, an online transport matchmaking service for that grain, a carbon market to give farmers a financial incentive for sequestering carbon with regenerative agriculture, and a data platform underscored by its acquisition of the satellite imagery business TellusLabs in December 2018.
Indigo says the new capital will support the continued global development of Indigo Grain Marketplace. The number of transactions on Indigo Grain grew 50%-100% during the second half of 2019 and there have been over $300 billion worth of bids on the marketplace since it launched in 2018, it wrote in a press release announcing the raise.
The financing will also aim to promote the adoption of Indigo Carbon among farmers including the deployment of technologies to help measure, monitor, and verify soil carbon levels to enable payments to farmers. Indigo is also looking for commercial partners to purchase these carbon credits such as food companies but also businesses outside of the industry keen to mitigate their carbon footprint. Fedex, the global delivery company, is one such company considering offsetting some of its carbon footprint by buying carbon credits from Indigo farmers, Indigo told AFN. “The Terraton Initiative, inclusive of Indigo Carbon, is a marketplace that connects purchasers of carbon credits with farmers capturing and storing carbon within their soils. Sustainability is a key focus areas for FedEx, and [Fedex chairman] Fred Smith sees The Terraton Initiative as a climate solution and compelling approach to addressing sustainability goals through agriculture. This is why FedEx participated in this most recent financing round,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to AFN.
According to Indigo, growers with around 14 million acres under management have expressed interest in Indigo Carbon since the launch of the Terraton Initiative last summer.
Fedex chairman Frederick W. Smith said in the release: “Indigo and The Terraton Initiative offer promising solutions to address climate change. The sustainability of our environment is a strategic focus area for FedEx, and we look forward to supporting Indigo’s efforts to transform agriculture into a scalable, affordable, and immediate approach to reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.”
Stay tuned for updates.