Update: Canadian Govt Joins PE Investors to Back Pest-Reducing Sensor Company’s $8m Seed Round

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*Since this article was first published on April 13, Semios has raised a further $950k from the Canadian government.

SemiosBio Technologies, a Canada-headquartered company, manufacturing sensors for specialty crop orchards, has raised nearly $9 million in seed funding.

The company, which has 50k sensors deployed over 10k acres of land worldwide, raised the funding from a group of individual private equity investors and the Canadian government, according to a press release.

Leading the investment group was Reid Carter, who’s a managing partner at Brookfield Asset Management focused particularly on its timberland assets.

The Government of Canada made its investment through the Growing Forward 2, AgriInnovation Program, a five-year, $698 million initiative.

“The government is pleased to support this innovative project that will help the sector adopt fully integrated pest management systems,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in a statement. “Initiatives such as these help farmers continue to be good stewards of the land, while maintaining their competitiveness.

Semios promises growers real-time insights into the risks associated with weather, pests, disease, frost and irrigation through its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.

The sensors it deploys measure a range of different conditions including leaf wetness and soil moisture, but they also undertake actions such as trapping insects and dispensing pheromones.

Pheromones can interrupt pest mating seasons and actively control pest numbers. With the decline in bees and other beneficial insect species, non-toxic and specifies-specific pheromone products are becoming an increasingly important alternative to insecticides.

“We are at a pivotal point in the company’s growth,” said Michael Gilbert, founder and CEO of Semios in a statement. “Adoption of our platform is accelerating, and our growers are asking for more features and services.  With this new level of investor expertise and confidence, we’ll be able to expand the platform and accelerate the growth of our business.”

The funding will go towards expanding the services the company offers growers, such as new aerosol pheromone formulas to target an increasing number of pests prevalent in orchards and vineyards. It will also go towards increasing its sales efforts, R&D, and improving its big data analytics to better predict the risk of frost inversions, diseases, and non-optimized irrigation.

Semios continues to demonstrate an exceptional level of innovation and functionality in its precision farming platform and is now at a stage where more resources will help meet the exponential growth in demand for operational deployment,” said Carter in a statement.

While Semois was founded in 2010, it didn’t start selling sensors until 2014. This latest round adds to some $6 million of earlier seed investment from the last four years, according to a spokesperson. Haywood Securities, an investment firm out of the UK, helped with the fundraising.

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