Smart irrigation platform Hortau wraps up $20 mln financing


Photo courtesy of Hortau

Hortau, a Lévis, Québec-based provider of precision irrigation management services for agriculture, has closed a $20 million financing.

The round was backed by Export Development Canada, which invested $7 million, and Fonds de solidarité FTQ, which invested $5.9 million.

These new investors and Fondaction join existing investors Aviro CapitalAdvantage Capital Partners, BDC Capital and Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins.

The funds raised will support product development and continued global growth.

Founded in 2002 by CEO Jocelyn Boudreau and Jean Caron, Hortau helps growers manage irrigation scheduling and crop stress, optimize growth, and reduce water use, energy consumption and nutrient loss.

PRESS RELEASE

Hortau Closes $20M Round to Fuel Product Development, Growth, International Expansion

LÉVIS, QUÉBEC (February 27, 2019) – Hortau, a leader in precision irrigation management services for commercial agriculture, today announced the closing of a $20 million equity funding round. The investment will help fuel product development, company growth and continued international expansion.

Founded in 2002 in Québec, Canada, Hortau raised the capital from Export Development Canada ($7 million) and Fonds de solidarité FTQ ($5.9 million). These two new investors and Fondaction will join Hortau’s existing set of investors, Avrio Ventures LP II, Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners LP (ACAP), BDC Capital Inc. and Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) also invested $5.9 million in Hortau earlier this year for the development of new technologies.

“We’re excited about this round of funding because it will help us scale and provide our precision irrigation management services to more growers in regions that are plagued by water and other resource issues,” says Hortau CEO and Co-Founder Jocelyn Boudreau. “We’ve seen the resource limitations our farmers are faced with here in North America first hand and know growers across the globe are battling those same issues. Our systems and services not only help growers cut back their inputs but help optimize and boost production at the same time. This investment will ensure more growers will have these precision irrigation tools at their fingertips.”

Hortau’s crop stress management service reports to growers how crops are faring in real time – before stresses such as drought or lack of aeration can have a negative impact on a crop. This proprietary, plant-centric approach measures crop stress using soil tension, ensuring optimal crop growth, and reducing water and energy consumption, as well as nutrient leaching.

Over the past 16 years, Hortau has received numerous awards for its precision irrigation management platform, including the 2017 North American Smart Irrigation New Product Innovation Award, presented by Frost & Sullivan. Hortau was also a finalist for the 2017 CognitionX Best AI Product in Agriculture award, and named to the THRIVE AgTech Top 50 Growth Companies and the Global Cleantech 100 Ones to Watch lists.

“We see a lot of potential in Hortau and know there is a demand for their technology around the world as the need to better manage water resources becomes increasingly important,” says Carl Burlock, Senior Vice President, Financing and International Growth Capital at Export Development Canada. “Global demand is growing across the cleantech sector, and EDC is committed to helping Canadian exporters gain a bigger foothold in the world market.”

Hortau recently launched a new application that gives growers a unified interface (between mobile and web views) and streamlines real-time irrigation management data from the field. The app allows growers to quickly identify critical information right from their dashboard, see a map overview of their operation and where action is needed, as well as monitor soil tension, weather and other data from the field in a simplified fashion.

“By innovating itself, Hortau makes it easier for the agriculture industry, qualified as a more traditional sector, to innovate. Our investment confirms once again our commitment to this key part of Québec’s economy, as well as to their efforts to integrate new technologies”, said Patrice Jolivet, Vice-President, Agrifood and Packaging for the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

Hortau is anticipating continued growth in the agtech sector and expects its staff to at least double within the next five years. The company plans to continue international expansion in coming years by forging strategic partnerships with major players in the agricultural industry.

About Hortau

Hortau, a global leader in precision irrigation management services for agriculture, was founded in 2002 by two agriculturally minded entrepreneurs, Dr. Jean Caron, agronomist, Ph.D in Soil Physics, and Jocelyn Boudreau, agricultural engineer, M.Sc. in Soil Physics.

Hortau’s patented, irrigation management solutions help growers detect crop stress, ensuring optimal growth while reducing water use, energy consumption and nutrient loss.

Hortau has offices, representatives and technicians throughout the U.S. and Canada.

About EDC
EDC helps Canadian companies go, grow, and succeed in their international business. As a financial Crown corporation, EDC provides financing, insurance, bonding, trade knowledge, and matchmaking connections to help Canadian companies sell and invest abroad. EDC can also provide financial solutions to foreign buyers to facilitate and grow purchases from Canadian companies.

For more information about how we can help your company, call us at 1-888-434-8508 or visit www.edc.ca.

About the Fonds de solidarité FTQ
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a development capital investment fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments. As at November 30, 2018, the organization had $14.8 billion in net assets, and through its current portfolio of investments has helped create and protect more than 194,000 jobs. The Fonds is a partner in more than 2,800 companies and has more than 667,000 shareholder-savers. Visit www.fondsftq.com for more information.