Silicon Valley-ers are looking beyond the hills.
FarmLogs, a Michigan-based software startup that provides management tools to increase farmer productivity, has raised $4 million in venture capital. The Series A investment led by Drive Capital was announced on Wednesday, and comes just one year after Farmlogs raised $1 million in seed capital. This investment news is big for a mid-western company. But, it’s even bigger when considering the $1 billion acquisition of Climate Corp by Monstanto last year, because many are taking it as a sign of what’s to come—that is, big agtech investment by Sillicon Valley.
Drive Capital, founded by two former Sequoia Capital executives Mark Kvamme and Chris Olsen, is a firm that has been ahead of the curve on VC investment. According to a piece in Biz Journal, the two partners founded Drive after leaving Silicon Valley because they want to focus on the Midwest.
“It’s not that VC is new to the region,” staff reporter Evan Weese wrote, “there’s long been a presence of firms, but many max out around $50 million, they said. Attracting more venture capital dollars promises to keep home-grown companies from flocking to the West Coast.”
The first investor that led to the first million was Y Combinator, which according to TechCrunch, “alum touts the fact that 5% of farms in the US. are currently using its software.” Other seed capital came from Huron River Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Silicon Badia, and the Series A investors following Drive Capital are Huron River Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and Hyde Park Angels.
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Farmlogs’ Jesse Vollmar, CEO and Co-Founder, told TechCrunch it will use the capital to pursue an “aggressive product growth plan for the upcoming year.” Vollmar also told TechCrunch,
“the company is building out its product to intelligently predict and optimize crop rotations as well as automate activity data collection. FarmLogs is also looking to ingest data collected by modern farming equipment that he tells me traditionally is rarely exported. By using low-cost Bluetooth hardware, the company expects to be able to analyse and upload this data in real time.”
The VC firms that have invested in FarmLogs, while having a Silicon Pedigree, are not actually based in Silicon Valley. If this investment is a sign of what is to come, perhaps even those based within the valley will start looking beyond for bigger opportunities. Mid-westerners, start getting innovative.
FEATURED PHOTO: The FarmLogs Founder and CEO Jesse Vollmar, and co-founder and CTO Brad Koch. PHOTO: www.crainsdetroit.com