Israeli start-up AgriTask – a developer of a “flexible and integrative” data-driven software platform for agronomic management – has secured US$8.5 million in a recent Series A financing round. The Android app-supported platform can be used by farmers and other stakeholders to improve grower monitoring and yield prediction, covering 20 countries worldwide and over 50 crop types. AgriTask will be directing the proceeds towards enhancing its data analytics features and expanding its customer reach, including smallholder projects and the agricultural insurance sector.
“We serve several buyer groups and sourcing companies, including General Mills. With such clients, they often use our system to monitor growers, perform yield prediction and implement food traceability. For grower monitoring, we provide automatic processing of satellite imagery and data, and virtual weather stations, so that they can detect problems remotely,” Ofir Ardon, CEO of AgriTask, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“For yield prediction, we support digitalization of collected field data and customized models to predict yield, resulting in better supply chain management. Traceability helps them better understand quality and performance of each grower,” he further highlights.
The vast volume of agronomic data accumulated in AgriTask’s platform will lead to the development of new techniques for optimizing crop growth models and agro-economic decisions, benefiting large farmers and smallholders all over the world, the start-up notes.
“We knew from day one that we need to build an extremely flexible platform that will be able to adjust itself to the clients – and not the other way around. AgriTask values and embraces the extensive knowledge of its clients – and integrates their wisdom into the platform. As a side effect, we are also creating the largest library of best practices inside our system,” says Agritask Founder Israel Fraier.
Data-driven real time decision-making
AgriTask’s “One Platform, One Database” approach aims to provide a holistic solution to support real time decision-making. AgriTask supports the entire agricultural production process, ranging from soil fertility management and growth monitoring, to harvest logistics. Furthermore, the platform can integrate with over 40 hardware and software data sources, including John Deere, Airbus, IBM and SAP.
“AgriTask digitizes the agricultural production process based on clients’ existing work methods. This means we start by discussing with clients their requirements, such as type of data they use and format in which they want to see it, then tailor our system accordingly,” says Ardon.
“We also have a proprietary Android mobile app with customizable screens to mimic clients’ field reports. All of this data then flows into one platform for intuitive visualization. In addition, we build customized models and reports based on clients’ requirements,” he explains.
With a flexible system architecture, AgriTask’s platform is designed to adapt to each client’s workflow and chosen technologies, offering a “seamless adoption” experience and tangible benefits. The service aims to serve farmers by digitizing their work methods and integrating their multiple systems into one platform. Resulting from its utility are sustainable yield increases and cost savings.
In regional projects, the system enables better monitoring, delivery of agronomic services and risk management. For agricultural insurers, it revolutionizes their ability to perform risk analysis at an “unprecedented detail.” This allows significant cost reduction, more advanced insurance products and deeper penetration in underserved markets, the company explains.
With proceeds from the latest financing, AgriTask is seeking to grow its farmer client base in the Americas, while continuing to expand the regional project and insurance sectors globally. The platform’s current users comprise farmers alongside food and beverage companies, agricult
AgriTask aims to serve farmers by digitizing their work methods and integrating their multiple systems into one platform.
ural insurers, input providers and governmental organizations.
“The data-driven insights generated by our system create an opportunity to build a new generation of precision agronomy tools that we’re only beginning to understand. Our developments include cutting-edge tools in the field of smallholder projects and agricultural insurance. We intend to invest more resources in scientifically leveraging the huge amount of data in our system and given our unique geographic and sector-wide spread – we intend to push the boundaries of data analytics in agriculture,” says Ardon.
AgriTask’s Series A financing round was led by the InsuResilience Investment Fund and co-invested by Barn Investimentos. The InsuResilience Investment Fund was set up on behalf of the German government by KfW (a German state-owned development bank) and is managed by Swiss-based impact investment manager BlueOrchard Finance. Barn Investimentos is a Brazilian early stage venture capital (VC) investors focusing on high growth companies in ag-tech and other industries.
Investing in the future of food
Global investment in start-ups is attracting large and established industry players. Incubator programs have seen a rise over the past year, fueled by heightened interest in disruptive ideas benefitting the agronomy and supply chain management spaces.
Last month, Rabobank spearheaded the SustainableAg Asia Challenge, a platform aiming to “promote integrity and interconnectivity” across the Asia’s vital agricultural supply chains. The challenge comprised a shortlist of 15 innovative agri-tech start-ups and innovators across China, India and Southeast Asia.
In the Netherlands, Rabobank, ScaleUpNation and Foodvalley have launched ScaleUpFood, a comprehensive support program dedicated to scaling entrepreneurial ventures in food and agriculture. European food tech and agri-tech start-ups last year raised US$1.6 billion in funding across 421 deals, according to the inaugural report from global Venture Capital platform AgFunder, in collaboration with F&A Next.
In July, Cargill and Ecolab announced its support of a second class of start-ups through the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator. By cultivating innovation in this sector, the program hopes to facilitate a “safer and more sustainable food system.”