Ceres Imaging, an aerial spectral imagery and analytics company, recently announced a $25 million Series B funding round with an investment from Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Romulus Capital. This is the first investment for Insight Venture Partners in the agricultural technology (agtech) sector. The round for Ceres Imaging represents the largest single investment in the agricultural spectral imaging market category to date.
Since its founding, Ceres Imaging has raised some $35 million in venture capital. The current round will advance computer vision and AI development by allowing recruitment of new technical talent, and will fund targeted imagery products for new markets.
"Ceres Imaging is uniquely positioned in the market, with the right team, technology and product offering to help realize sustainable crop yields for farmers, and Insight Venture Partners is thrilled to help them scale in this journey," said Deven Parekh, Managing Director at Insight Venture Partners.
"Ceres Imaging's innovative technology solutions allows them to partner with farmers in California, the U.S. Midwest, and Australia to solve the world's most important agriculture issues. We couldn't be more excited to welcome them to Insight Venture Partners' portfolio, and look forward to helping the team advance farming efficiency across the globe," said Harley Miller, Vice President at Insight Venture Partners.
Visionary farmers choose Ceres' imagery products for early warnings of pest and disease and to better utilize water and fertilizer. Ceres' actionable images have improved yields for growers by tens of tons an acre, and profits by hundreds of dollars an acre. Clients and partners include Olam, The Climate Corporation, Agtegra, and Evergreen FS.
By using proprietary image sensors, computer vision, machine learning, and plant science, the company allows farmers to react to changes in their fields weeks before they can see them with the naked eye. Unlike traditional legacy imagery, like true-color and NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) imagery, Ceres' spectral imaging products let farmers monitor individual plant water and nutrient content, as well as stress levels.
This helps farmers identify disease hotspots and conserve pesticide and fungicide. It also means greater crop yields from scarce water-"more crop per drop"-and cuts down on wasted fertilizer by highlighting plant-level nutrient status.
"Our imagery helps farmers cope with a changing world full of challenges such as climate variability, labor shortages, and depressed markets," said Ashwin Madgavkar, founder and CEO of Ceres Imaging. "Like the farmers we serve, we know that agriculture is more than a business. Our growers care deeply about their land and about the food they grow. From grain farmers in the Midwest to California vineyards and almond orchards, these farmers are careful with resources, not just for their bottom line, but because they are stewards of the land."