Precision livestock platform Vytelle has closed $13.2 million in Series A funding for its technology that lets livestock producers speed up genetic advancement in cattle. Co-leading the round were private equity firm Open Prairie, through its Rural Opportunities Fund, and ag VC firm Fulcrum Global Capital.
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Vytelle offers livestock producers what it says is a faster, more precise way to identify the “elite” members of a herd — that is, cattle with superior genetics around things like feed efficiency, fertility, and health.
“Those are the traits that matter and they drive sustainable production,” Vytelle CEO Kerryann Kocher told AFN.
She referred to Vytelle’s platform as “genetic progress as a service.”
Officially launched in 2020, it includes three components. Vytelle SENSE, a data capture system, records the animals’ feed intake and in-pen weight gain. Vytelle INSIGHT uses artificial intelligence to process phenotypic, genomic, environmental, and performance data into reports that help producers identify the most productive members of their herd. Vytelle ADVANCE is a reproductive technology that uses in vitro fertilization (IVF) to multiply genetics from the herd’s best-performing animals.
Kocher said that allowing livestock producers to quickly identify their best performers and have those reproduce can slim the process of genetic gains down from generations to just a few years.
“[The process] would traditionally take up to 10 years to improve a single trait in a herd. We have no time for that. We need to make this progress as fast as we possibly can.”
The world needs to produce more protein in a way that’s both sustainable for the planet and profitable for producers, she continued.
“This is the core of our mission and our purpose. We want to make meat and milk viable food choices for future generations. We want every producer to have the choices available to them to make a more sustainable cattle herd.”
Speaking in a statement today, Duane Cantrell, CEO of Fulcrum Global Capital, called Vytelle’s tech “a game changer for the cattle industry to produce a more efficient and sustainable global cattle herd.”
According to one recent study published in Nature, raising livestock is responsible for as much as 57% of global greenhouse gas emissions from food production – with beef alone accounting for a quarter. Vytelle’s business is built on the idea that more efficient, productive members of the herd will require fewer inputs overall – and therefore provide a more sustainable solution for beef and dairy farmers.
“We are impressed with Vytelle’s track record of success in the IVF sector and look forward to implementing initiatives to further accelerate genetic progress with Vytelle’s data platforms for the benefit of ranchers and cattle operations throughout rural America,” said Open Prairie’s founder and managing partner, Jim Schultz.
Between lab, satellite, and partner locations, Vytelle currently serves 21 countries around the world. The new funding will help the company further expand the availability of its platform and put 15 new labs around the world over the next five years, Kocher said.