FarmLead has raised about $8.7 million (US$6.5 million) in a Series A financing. The round was led by Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), the investment arm of Monsanto Co, and joined by Avrio Ventures, MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and Serra Ventures. With the deal, Kiersten Stead of MGV and Aki Georgacacos of Avrio will join the board. Ottawa-based FarmLead operates a digital marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to list, negotiate and finalize grain deals. The company has since 2013 grown to serve over 4,000 farms. Led by CEO Brennan Turner, it will use the funds raised to expand into the U.S. market and open a Chicago office.
(Correction: It was previously reported that MaRS Innovation invested in the Series A round. The actual investor was MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.)
Monsanto Growth Ventures, Avrio Capital, MaRS IAF and Serra Ventures Invest $6.5 M in FarmLead’s Series A as it Enters US to Become New Center of Commerce for Growers
Online marketplace will unveil basis, futures and payment options to facilitate larger transactions and improve deal flow
CHICAGO, March 20, 2017 /CNW/ — FarmLead, North America’s leading online grain marketplace, today announced a $6.5 million USD Series A raise led by Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), with additional investments from Avrio Ventures, the MaRS Innovation Accelerator Fund and Serra Ventures. The close supports FarmLead’s expansion into the U.S. market and the opening of its U.S. headquarters in Chicago, a key access point to prominent U.S. grain production regions. Kiersten Stead of MGV and Aki Georgacacos of Avrio Ventures will join FarmLead’s Board of Directors.
Since its inception in 2013, FarmLead has grown to serve more than 4,000 farms across North America and has seen levels of tonnage traded rise 200-300% higher YoY. As the center of commerce for grain traders, the FarmLead Marketplace extends users’ market reach and the opportunity to achieve higher ROI. Once limited by highly localized, relationship-dependent practices, farmers now have access to a wealth of buyers online to garner the best pricing possible for their grain. Key additions to FarmLead’s product line include an innovative forward contracting service that will allow growers to sell to interested buyers based on forecasted grain yields – enabling better financial management of farm operations.
“Despite the recent levels of technology innovation in agriculture, very few companies are aimed at the critical commerce piece of the equation that helps farmers realize profits from day one,” said Kiersten Stead, Investment Director at MGV. “FarmLead built a platform that can do just that and is a key part of a diversified approach to marketing and trading grain. We are delighted to support a great team and to partner with committed investors to enable an open marketplace that gives the industry more options and a differentiated advantage.”
Through its award-winning platform, FarmLead allows farmers to post their bids online or engage directly with farmers who have listed their grain for sale. No other marketplace provides the same level of flexibility when it comes to negotiating physical cash for conventional, organic, or identity preserved grains. Now, as Farmlead expands its Midwest office in Chicago, the company is actively recruiting regional Customer Success and Business Development representatives, along with key US-based operational roles to better service customers in key crop markets.
“This investment signals the appetite for a solution that accelerates the rates of commercial grain marketing transactions,” says FarmLead CEO and Co-Founder, Brennan Turner. “Our ability to increase deal flow for farmers, enabling them to negotiate better prices and other key trade terms online, allows farms to take ownership of their grain production and marketing lifecycle. This is the future of grain trading and we are truly poised to transform the way agricultural commodities are traded worldwide.”
FarmLead is North America’s cash grain marketplace. The online platform allows buyers and sellers to list, negotiate and finalize grain deals. Registering, browsing, posting and negotiating grain deals on the FarmLead Marketplace is 100% free. Buyers and Sellers on the FarmLead Marketplace only pay when a deal is finalized. FarmLead is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario and operates offices across Canada. For more information visit www.farmlead.com or follow us on twitter.com/farmlead.
MGV is the Venture Capital arm of Monsanto, and invests in emerging teams and ideas that improve agriculture across all technology stacks. Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
About Avrio Capital
The Avrio group of entities was established in 2002 to identify and invest in innovative food and agriculture companies that provide solutions to global challenges in the areas of health, wellness and sustainability. As the global pioneer in ag and food technology investing, the team has been an active investor in the space for almost 15 years, having completed over fifty investments since its inception. Avrio is a highly engaged investor, working closely alongside of their portfolio companies to provide the support and resources needed to transform emerging companies into global leaders.
MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario’s leading academic institutions. It provides investors and licensees access to technology assets emerging from MaRS Innovation’s members, who receive over a billion dollars in annual research and development funding. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, and by its members, MaRS Innovation is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.
About Serra Ventures
Serra Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm investing in technology companies in emerging Midwest technology centers and selected other geographies. Sectors of focus include information technology, devices/instrumentation and agricultural technologies. Serra Ventures is headquartered in the University of Illinois Research Park in Champaign, Illinois.
MissionCTRL Communications for FarmLead
Photo courtesy of FarmLead