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Preparing seeds for scanning in the ZoomAgri scanner. Image credit: ZoomAgri

ZoomAgri lands $6m from GrainCorp and others to expand AI-powered grain inspection system

July 27, 2023

  • ZoomAgri has raised a $6 million series A round for its hardware-software system that digitizes the inspection and traceability process for agricultural commodities. The round brings ZoomAgri’s total funding to date to $11 million.
  • Australian agribusiness giant GrainCorp led the round along with GrainInnovate, a VC partnership between Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) and investment firm Artesian.
  • Existing investor SP Ventures also participated.
  • ZoomAgri will use the new capital to expand geographically and further develop its offerings.
Preparing seeds for scanning in the ZoomAgri scanner. Image credit: ZoomAgri

Why it matters

ZoomAgri’s raise is timely given the increasing pressure agrifood corporates shoulder around food traceability, particularly for health and environmental concerns. In the US, for example, the FDA’s Food Traceability Rule published in 2022 encourages companies to adopt more digital technologies to aid in improving traceability.

As Deloitte notes, “By creating a ‘digital twin’ of their supply chain, combining traceability and digitalization, companies can play a crucial role in increasing the effectiveness of recalls through the swift identification and removal of contaminated foods from the market.”

Longer term, the same could be said for tracing products back to environmental abuse such as deforestation, then removing those products from supply chains, as European lawmakers vow to do.

ZoomAgri’s tech doesn’t (yet) deal in that level of traceability, but growth of its system that simplifies the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) process for grains and oilseeds has been “rapid and incredible,” according to SP Ventures founding partner Francisco Jardim.

“Their agility in solving key bottlenecks in major commodities like wheat and soybean has generated massive efficiency gains and expanded their global reach.”

ZoomAgri’s system combines a hardware scanner with artificial intelligence and computer vision. (See it in action here.)

The new capital follows a $3.3 million seed raise in 2021 from SP Ventures, Artesian, GrainInnovate and Glocal.

Customers — which currently include the likes of Cargill, ADM, LDC, and ABInBev — can use the system to recognize grain and seed varieties as well as their quality in a single scan. ZoomAgri says it currently has an image database of more than 250 million individual images powering its algorithms.

GrainCorp, for example, has been testing two units for a few years to monitor quality in barley.

“[ZoomAgri] has developed advanced prototypes during the last three years for variety testing and physical quality determination, and our investment will support more product development into new commodities such as wheat,” said GrainCorp CEO Robert Spurway.

The technology also currently supports soy and corn. Part of the Series A funding will go towards expanding this list, says ZoomAgri.

ZoomAgri serves customers in 25 different countries including Argentina, Australia, Spain and Brazil. Series A funding will also go towards geographical expansion — ZoomAgri plans to make inroads into the North American commodities markets in the coming months.

Spurway added that by investing in ZoomAgri, his firm was “supporting the continued modernization of the grains industry and backing solutions that will add value to the grower’s business and drive a consistency of standard testing-outcome tolerances on site.”

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