Sep. 14, 2018
Growers, the North Carolina-based agritech startup that provides and services to help farmers and their trusted advisors utilize farm data to simplify decision making and increase profitability, has raised a $5 million Series A financing to accelerate software development and grow their channel-based business. The latest round was led by St. Louis-based Lewis and Clark Ventures with participation from other investors with extensive AgTech expertise including new investors Innova Memphis and the VTC Innovation Fund managed by Middleland Capital. All the company’s existing investors also participated, including Tiverton Advisors LLC, Albany Private Equity Partners, and Maize Partners.
Founded about nine years by Gabriel Wilmoth, Ronald Zink, and Steven Valencsin, Growers provides a full-service and field-tested solution to farmers that are looking for ways to maximize productivity on every inch of their land. Growsers provides complete support for soil variability, Rx development, equipment support, tech support, and data interpretation.
Since inception, Growers has helped farmers generate $50M more in incremental crop revenue and reduced commercial fertilizer application by over 160M tons, while increasing yield and materially reducing the environmental impact of row crop agriculture. Founder and CEO Steven Valencsin says, “Precisive management, analysis and execution of farm data can create dramatic on-farm results and increased profitability for farmers. The problem is, many of the digital tools on the market today are only partial solutions or are too cumbersome. Growers products and services were built by farmers, for farmers.” By developing a process to capture highly accurate field data at scale and coupling that with easy-to-use software, Growers meets the needs of the most progressive, large-scale row crop farmers.
Lewis and Clark Principal Larry Page explains, “Growers’ platform is wholly unique. At Lewis & Clark, we’ve evaluated hundreds of AgTech companies. Few truly understand the complexities of delivering farm data analytics at scale the way Growers does, and few have a track record of delivering 10 to 20 percent yield improvements with fewer inputs across hundreds of thousands of acres.”
Growers software + service offers several distinct advantages the company passes onto their customers. Valencsin notes, “We have built one of the largest independent data sets for soil ranking and product performance. Our hybrid selection and product placement technologies offer farmers a refreshing solution that is brand agnostic, independent, and validated by hundreds of thousands of acres of real results.” Coupled with proprietary soil analytics, Growers recommendations routinely deliver a 3-5x ROI. Customers have reported “bottom-line” increases of more than $100/ac.
The company plans to use the new funding to accelerate software development and grow their channel-based business. “We’re excited to work with Lewis and Clark Ventures and our other investors and use this financing to better serve our customers and expand to new markets,” said Valencsin. While the company has historically employed a direct-to-farmer model, select partners in the ag industry now have access to the tools and technologies Growers has created.
The management team is rounded out with two executives with deep AgTech experience. Ron Zink, who was previously Director of Digital Solutions at John Deere, was hired in June 2017 as Chief Technology Officer, leading product development. Gabriel Wilmoth, previously an Investment Director at Syngenta Ventures, joined in December 2017 as Chief Operating Officer. Growers’ 30 employees cover a 15 state territory and are headquartered in both Raleigh, North Carolina and Seattle, Washington.