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ListenField co-founder and CEO Rassarin Chinnachodteeranun speaking at a TEDx talk in 2020. Image credit: ListenField

Thai precision ag startup ListenField gets strategic backing from Kubota

February 16, 2021

ListenField, a Thai precision agritech startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Japanese agricultural equipment maker Kubota as part of a wider strategic partnership.

[Disclosure: ListenField is a graduate of GROW‘s Singapore Food Bowl program. GROW is an impact fund and accelerator backed by AgFunder, which is AFN‘s parent company.]

With offices in Bangkok and Nagoya, Japan, the startup combines crop and climate analytics with wireless device integration, providing field insights for farmers.

ListenField’s API ecosystem can bring together data from various sources, such as satellites, weather stations, and in-field devices. Its combination of AI and crop modeling with phenology and genotype selection “has the potential to produce crops with superior quality characteristics in terms, for example, of sweetness, protein content, and amylose,” said co-founder and CEO Rassarin Chinnachodteeranun.

She told AFN that “equity partnership,” rather than investment, is a better way of explaining ListenField’s relationship with Kubota, which had been going on for some time prior to the funding announcement. The pair began deploying the startup’s solutions in Thailand and Japan last year, mainly with rice farming operations, and want to target other Southeast Asian countries.

“Our [agreement] also involved Kubota making an investment in the form of holding an equity stake in ListenField,” she said.

“The amount of capital raised in this regard is deemed sufficient by ListenField to fund our technological and business expansion plans over the next several years. Accordingly, [we see] no need for further funding in the coming years.”

Chinnachodteeranun added that the funding will be used for further development of ListenField’s tech offering, with the aim of allowing farming communities to build their own “business intelligence dashboard” using data collected and collated by the startup.

“This is meant to be a powerful tool to help monitor crop health, anticipate weather patterns, and assess as well as predict crop yield and productivity. This platform would enable farming communities to better manage and monitor their output and crop quality in a timely and cost-effective manner,” she said.

Meet 4 Singapore Food Bowl startups who want to revolutionize farming with tech – read more here

Other than Kubota, various “agro-industry and global players” have approached the startup about potential partnerships, according to Chinnachodteeranun.

“Our biggest challenge so far is to keep up with the strong interest from various enterprises and institutions around the world that have keenly approached us to deploy our technology for their crop. That is why [we need] to focus and set clear priorities when it comes to deploying our technology to meet the urgent needs of our clients,” she said.

“Over the longer term, the challenge is to successfully expand our operations and technological capabilities to reach the scale necessary to cope [with] demand.”

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