Farmers Business Network Raises $110M Series D
December 4, 2017
Farmers Business Network Inc. (FBN), the company behind the independent farmer-to-farmer network built to connect farmers and allow for the sharing of data, insights, and information critical to agronomic decision making, has raised an impressive $110 million Series D led by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. and Temasek. Other repeat investors in the round include GV, Acre Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and DBL Partners.
This round brings the company’s total funding to nearly $200 million in less than three years, following a $15 million round led by GV in May 2015, a $20 million round led by Acre Venture Partners in August 2016, and a $40 million round led by GV in March of this year.
Launched in 2014 by agricultural entrepreneur and Chief Executive Amol Deshpande and Vice President Charles Baron, FBN’s technology involves collecting data streams from more than 115 million acre events of precision agronomic data, ranging from planting data, to pest information, to chemical applications to yields and harvest results.
FBN then analyzes the data to deliver a benchmark against which farmers can measure their own methods and results, or identify problems that need addressing.
“We created FBN to be growers’ advocate and to allow them to use information in fundamentally new ways, which helps them to be more profitable and thrive on their land,” Charles Baron, co-founder of FBN told GAI News in a previous interview.
Through the introduction of its unbiased and anonymous platform that combines technology with the highest level of agricultural knowledge, FBN is harnessing the potential of data science to create a positive impact on the farming sector and its producers – creating a space where farmers can anonymously share data and insight on everything from input prices, to efficacy of products, or seed performance. Over the course of its existence, the FBN Network has grown to over 16 million acres of member farms across 42 U.S. states and Canada, and now has offices in San Carlos, California, and a National Operations Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Additionally, FBN’s Direct farm-commerce platform works with input manufacturers to provide significantly reduced prices to network member-farmers; creating a higher level of transparency that has worked to save farmers up to tens of thousands of dollars on the cost of critical inputs, while its crop marketing platform enables farmers to manage bids from various buyers – all for a yearly membership fee of $600 with no acreage fees.
“Farmers Business Network fiercely advocates for farmers – democratizing information, providing market transparency, and leveling the playing field through networking,” said Charles Baron, co-founder and VP of product. “We’re bringing growers the transformative power of a digital farm economy. By connecting farmers digitally, farmers are empowered through network-enabled agronomic insights, transparent online input purchasing, and a global crop marketing network to drive profitability even in the toughest markets.”
Although agtech funding rounds have been getting larger as technologies mature, rounds of this size remain rare. FBN states that it plans to use the capital to fund greater geographical expansion into Canada, and expansion beyond commodity crops and into livestock production. The company also may use a portion of the funding to one day produce ag input products such as seeds or agrichemicals, reports Tech Crunch. However, Baron calls the idea “theoretical”, stating that the company will continue to be “a data network first and foremost”.
“As each new farmer joins the FBN Network, every member’s seed information, agronomic analytics, and buying power gets stronger,” said the company on its website. “When farmers connect, farmers win – and the services, technology, and network keep growing.”
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