FieldIn Raises $4M to Advance the Management of Pesticide Usage
January 11, 2018
Israeli agtech startup FieldIn announced that it has successfully raised $4 million to advance its technology to monitor and control pesticide usage.
The fundraising was co-led by Gal Ventures and Germin8 Ventures, and included existing investor Terra Ventures as well as international angel investors and the Israel Innovation Authority – the investment arm of the Israeli government.
Founded in 2013 in Ramat-Yishai, Israel by entrepreneur Boaz Bachar, FieldIn is aiming to disrupt the $65 billion agricultural pesticide (AgPest) market through the use of artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics. Using IoT devices connected to its powerful analytics platform, FieldIn computes geospatial, chemical, biological, weather, and other parameters to provide permanent crop growers with unprecedented insight and control of their operation.
Over the past two years, FieldIn has monitored more than 1 million treated acres, and has determined that more than 25 percent of pesticide sprays were “performed with consequential errors”, according to a company statement. This margin of error contributes to the loss of $300 billion in annual crops being lost each year due to inaccurate pest and disease control.
“Our AgPest dataset has reached a critical-mass coverage that enables us to provide unique insights on crops, chemicals and geographies,” said Boaz Bachar, founder and CEO of FieldIn. “We started our initial activities in Israel and expect to cover over 40 percent of the citrus and vine markets in 2018.”
FieldIn has seen rapid growth, and is expanding into the major markets of the U.S., Africa, and Europe. Supporting this expansion is newly forged contracts with major agricultural producers including the largest producer of tree nuts in the world, “The Wonderful Company”, which oversees approximately 100,000 acres. The company also has secured a strategic partnership with global crop protection solutions leader Adama and Kern Machinery, the largest John Deere dealer in the state of California.
“FieldIn offers growers a unique spray management system that is economical and easy to use. It’s a strategic asset that should be part of every grower’s fleet,” said Larry Sitzman, GM of Kern Machinery.
Eye on Israel
Israel has emerged as a global leader in the advancement of agtech technologies – a fact that was highlighted at GAI AgTech Week 2017 .
Currently there are more than 400 agtech startups in Israel, noted Eitan Elkin, director of marketing with Start-up Nation Central. With a population of 8.2 million, that translates to one agtech startup for every 1,300 people
The country is ranked second out of 138 countries (outranked only by Switzerland) by the World Economic Forum’s Innovation Ranking, due in great part to a combination of distinct factors discussed during the Spotlight – Israel panel:
Land: The semi-arid nature of Israel’s landscape and the constraints placed on its agricultural sector drive a need for innovation around categories such as irrigation and greenhouse production.
In addition, the density of the country’s geography creates a closely-knit network of companies.
People: Israel’s history of being a country built by immigration has led to an open, entrepreneurial culture where the goal is innovation; while the influx of people of vastly different economic backgrounds has led to a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving. The cross-field aspect of the country’s expertise – from military, to gaming, to pharma adds a depth to the pool of experience that can be pulled from for R&D initiatives.
Infrastructure: The Israeli government has supports in place, while academic research is widespread. Meanwhile, the country’s military teaches its young people how to build, problem-solve, and meet failure with the understanding that knowledge has been gained.
This environment has led to an investor landscape conducive to all investors from generalists, to focused agtech, impact, global, and corporate investors.
Other recent agtech funding news to come out of Israel includes Israeli agtech AI platform Taranis announcing in May 2017 that it had closed a $7.5 million round of funding led by Finistere Ventures, and including Vertex Ventures, Eshbol Investments, Mindset Ventures, OurCrowd, and angel investor Eyal Gura. This new capital brought Taranis’ total funding to $9.5 million to date.
In July 2017, Tel Aviv-based digital farming startup Prospera raised a $15 million Series B led by Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated, and in September 2017, Flying SpArk, an Israel-based producer of insect protein for human consumption derived from the Mediterranean fruit fly was selected as one of 10 startups for IKEA’s inaugural accelerator, IKEA Bootcamp.
That same month, Israel and India announced the launch of the Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund (I4F) – an investment vehicle designed to focus on mutually beneficial investments in sectors ranging from agriculture to water to space during a visit to Israel by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Most recently, in the first days of this year, Tel Aviv-based biotech startup SuperMeat, a company dedicated to developing cultured meats in a laboratory setting, raised a Seed round of $3 million backed by U.S.-based venture capital fund New Crop Capital, mission-focused venture capital firm Stray Dog Capital, and European poultry producer PHW. With this funding the company states that it is targeting a commercialization timeline of three years for its lab-produced chicken.
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