We at Bowery Capital released the 2016 edition of Opportunities In Vertical Software in November, which laid out our point of view on ten specific verticals and the potential for various software solutions to dominate each of these ten verticals in the coming years. For ten weeks, we are releasing content focused around the impact of software on these ten industries. We covered the Manufacturing Vertical last week, and have also covered the Healthcare, Education, Legal , Restaurant, Insurance, and Construction verticals in weeks prior. This Agriculture Software Deep Dive post is intended to provide an analysis of Agriculture market themes, players, & investors.
Agriculture Market Themes:
(1) Precision farming focus is shifting to software and sensors With yield being the primary driver of revenues and profitability there is a huge emphasis on continuous improvement in platforms that can collect and synthesize high quality data to provide accurate predictions for farmers. As part of the efficiency play many new companies are focused on developing software offerings that allow farmers to understand various levels of profitability across the different segments of their overall operation.
(2) Old tech” embraces IoT as tractors and other equipment is leveraged to track soil type, seed placement, and chemical application. This data is processed via platforms that generate insights that are tailored to the land analyzed. This data is also used as an input to biotech research to create specialized seeds designed for the diagnosed land conditions.
(3) Smart irrigation is gaining adoption as it tailors watering schedules based on various inputs. Soil data that is tracked via sensors, historical yield data, as well as weather data are all leveraged in calibrating when land requires water and how much. This is leading to higher overall yield as well as cost optimization for farmers.
Agriculture Industry Major Players:
There are many companies that make up the Agriculture industry. Two of the largest players in the segment are Trimble & Esri which create precision technology across a variety of industries. Esri developed the first agriculture GIS technology in the 1982. The company as a whole currently generates more than $1B in annual revenues. Another large player in the space that creates both hardware and software technology for the agriculture industry is John Deere. John Deere has a market cap of ~$28B.
Agriculture Industry Emerging Players:
We’ve seen emerging software players in the Agriculture Industry gain momentum as the market and demand continues to grow. To highlight some in our Vertical software report, there is Granular, a company an agriculture software company enabling efficient farm management with data science technology. Granular allows farm management to make data driven decisions. Farms can track inputs and crop inventory and ensure validity in invoicing. Tule is another emerging player in the market creating sensors that measure evapotranspiration over several acres and transmits data back to the Tule platform to enable informed irrigation decisions. Leveraging network data, farms can assess their irrigation results in comparison to other growers in their region. An emerging player that exited via a $1B acquisition by Monsanto was The Climate Corporation. The Climate Corporation uses data science to analyze historical data on crops and weather to generate insights for farmers. The proprietary platform allows for weather monitoring, agronomic modeling, and weather simulations to enable informed decision making.
Most Active Investors Focused On Agriculture Technology:
The agriculture industry has attracted many venture firms over the years but the three that stand out to be the top most active investors in the space are, Felicis Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Omnivore Partners. There are also several agritech focused funds that are backed by large agriculture companies seeking to augment their R&D spend with venture investments.
Agriculture Market Themes Link Roundup For Emerging Software Founders:
Thank you for reading our analysis on Agriculture Market Themes, Players, & Investors. Make sure to check out the 2016 edition of Opportunities In Vertical Software for the full report and we will be back next week with our next series of industry deep dives.