Granular nabs $4.2 mln, sells soil science business to Monsanto

Granular (formerly known as Solum) has raised $4.2 million in financing. The investors were Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Also, Monsanto Company has bought Granular’s soil science business. No financial terms were disclosed. Headquartered in San Francisco, Granular is a provider of cloud software and analytics for farmers.

PRESS RELEASE

San Francisco, CA – February 20, 2014 – Solum Inc. today announced it has changed its name to Granular Inc. and launched a new cloud business software and analytics offering for farmers. The Granular platform, which was in stealth development in 2013, is now beta testing on several farms in the Midwest. Solum also announced today that Monsanto Company has acquired Solum’s soil science business, which will be operated by its subsidiary The Climate Corporation.

The proceeds from the acquisition, along with a new $4.2 million round of financing from Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, are being invested into Granular to develop business software for the $3 trillion agriculture vertical. The funds will be used to expand Granular’s engineering team in San Francisco and sales and customer support teams across the United States.

“We were fortunate to develop two great business lines at Solum: an advanced soil science business based in Iowa and a cloud software and analytics business here in San Francisco,” said Sid Gorham, CEO of Granular. “The Climate Corporation is the right partner to bring our soil science innovations to their full commercial potential. For our part, we’re excited about building out Granular as a cloud software provider to help large farming businesses become more efficient, profitable and sustainable.”

Granular: Grow. Smarter.
The scale and complexity of agriculture has exploded in the past decades. The top 2% of farms now manage over one-third of cropland in the United States. Today, these large farmers are managing highly complex businesses using general business software on an office computer. With Granular, they will run their entire business on cloud and mobile applications that are purpose-built for agriculture.

“There have been significant technology advances in farm equipment and agronomic science, but nobody has developed enterprise-wide business software for our industry,” said Kip Tom, who runs large farms in Indiana and Argentina and is chairman of Granular’s Industry Advisory Board. “The time is now for a software platform that integrates business planning and performance analytics across our entire organization.”

Granular supports each of the main functional areas in a large farming business: planning, operations, marketing and finance. By integrating all of this functionality into a single application, Granular gives producers the end-to-end visibility and control they need to improve efficiency and make smarter business decisions. Granular captures critical production and financial data from each cropping cycle and uses advanced analytics to suggest opportunities for financial, operational and agronomic optimization.

“Agriculture is a large and critically important global industry,” said Marc Andreessen, founder at Andreessen Horowitz and Wisconsin native. “We believe vertically focused SaaS companies like Granular can use the power of big data analytics to bring huge efficiency gains to the industries they serve.”

“We see a tremendous opportunity to help advance the agriculture industry and are investing aggressively in this area,” said Vinod Khosla, general partner at Khosla Ventures. “Granular is pursuing a huge opportunity to help producers learn from their data and from each other.”

Granular Team
The Granular team has deep experience in software, agriculture and data science. Granular CEO, Sid Gorham, was on the founding team of OpenTable, helping launch their breakthrough software service for the restaurant industry. Sid also spent 10 years leading subscription analytics businesses in the telecom and media industries as CEO of Telephia and SVP of Strategy at Nielsen. Indiana-based VP of Sales, Ian Harley, was formerly CEO of Farmworks, one of the largest providers of desktop accounting software for farms. Brock LaPorte, who built high-performance development teams at Netscape, Sunpower and SugarSync, leads Granular’s technology team.

About Granular
Granular powers the world’s most efficient farms. The company’s cloud software and analytics platform helps farmers become more efficient and make better business decisions. Granular is headquartered in San Francisco and is backed by premier Silicon Valley investors Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. For more information, visit www.granular.ag <http://www.granular.ag>

About The Climate Corporation
The Climate Corporation aims to help farmers around the world protect and improve their farming operations with uniquely powerful software, hardware and insurance products. The company’s proprietary Climate Technology Platform™ combines hyper-local weather monitoring, agronomic modeling, and high-resolution weather simulations to deliver a suite of tools that help farmers manage risk through precision agriculture products and services, including: precision farming equipment and software, prescriptive agriculture technologies, and insurance products. The company’s Climate Basic™ and Climate Pro™, mobile SaaS solutions help farmers improve profitability by making better informed operating decisions. The company also offers a suite of full-stack risk management solutions through Total Weather Insurance, an insurance offering that pays farmers automatically for bad weather that may impact their profits, and serves as an authorized provider of the U.S. Federal crop insurance program. In the face of increasingly volatile weather, the global $3 trillion agriculture industry depends on the company’s unique technologies to help stabilize and improve profits and, ultimately, help feed the world. For more information, please visit http://www.climate.com or follow the company on Twitter @climatecorp.

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