News Article | July 22, 2015
Granular, a farm management software and analytics provider, has raised $18.7 million in new funding to streamline operations on large, professionally managed farms. Tao Capital Partners, the late stage fund that counts Tesla, Uber and SolarCity among its portfolio companies, led the Series B round. Existing backers Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures participated, with help from Emory Investment Management, Fall Line Capital, and H. Barton Asset Management. Granular provides software to manage all aspects of running a farm, from the daily tasks out in the field to the budgeting and financial work in the office. It integrates with a farmer’s existing hardware, including tractors, drones and scales, to collect data from the field. Everyone on the farm uses Granular’s mobile app to access a real-time work schedule and task list. Workers can see exactly where everyone is on a map, and exactly when each task is completed. “A 10,000 acre farm might be spread out over 100 square miles of fields that are not right next to each other, so you have to figure out the right order to do everything in and how to optimize that,” says Granular founder Sid Gorham. “Right now everyone’s doing that with two-way radio and paper and pencil.” In the office, Granular’s analytics dashboard helps farmers understand how each individual field is performing to make strategic decisions around planting and harvest. “Right now farms understand profitability at the total level, but with Granular, they can understand the profitability of each field and each crop,” says Gorham. Since Granular launched its product in March of last year, the company has signed up several dozen large U.S. farms spanning nearly 1 million acres of land. Existing Granular customers include farms producing corn for Maker’s Mark and ingredients for Chipotle. “By this time next year, we want to have the Farming 500 — the biggest and best farms in the country — on our system,” says Gorham. “We really want to serve the leaders in the market.”
News Article | July 22, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Granular, a company that provides farm management software and analytics tools, announced the close of its Series B financing today. Tao Capital Partners led the round and was joined by Emory Investment Management, Fall Line Capital, and H. Barton Asset Management. Granular’s previous investors, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, also invested in this second round. “We are excited to work with this top group of new and returning investors to become the leading provider of software and analytics to the global agricultural industry,” said Sid Gorham, Granular’s co-founder and CEO. “We are well on our way toward the first step of getting the best 500 producers in North America on the Granular platform and this funding will accelerate our progress.” Introduced 18 months ago, Granular is expanding its team of software and data science experts in San Francisco, along with a group of farming industry experts deployed near its customers nationwide. The funding will go primarily toward expanding this team to provide more localized support, in addition to extending the product into the specialty crop and livestock segments. The round of funding brings the total capital raised by the company to $25.2M. “Farming is one of the world’s largest and most important industries, but has been underserved by information technology companies,” said Christopher Olin, Principal at Tao Capital Partners. “We are thrilled to back the Granular team as they use data science to help farms become more efficient businesses and respond to the challenges and opportunities of the future.” Granular provides farmers with a new kind of farm management software, which brings together financial, operational and agronomic information in real-time to give growers an accurate view of their operation throughout the entire growing season. “The Granular team has made tremendous progress since their first financing 18 months ago,” said John O’Farrell, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “We see an opportunity to build a very large and valuable software company in this vertical and Granular has great traction with the industry’s largest, most sophisticated buyers.” Granular announced the financing at GROW 2015, the company’s first farm CEO summit in San Francisco. The user conference was attended by farmers representing some of the largest operations in North America, as well as Granular’s Industry Advisory Board and farmland investment funds. “We’d never been able before to get everything we do – from operations to budget to inventory tracking – all on one software package,” said Mark Bryant of Bryant Ag, Granular customer in Ohio. “Granular recognizes what ag is becoming, and they give me the tools I need to operate like a Fortune 500 company.” For more information on Granular, visit granular.ag. Granular is an agriculture software and analytics company dedicated to helping industry leaders build stronger and smarter farms. With cloud, mobile and advanced data science technology, the Granular platform makes it easier to manage a large farm and use data for critical business decisions. Granular’s rapidly growing network of farms in the U.S. and Canada is finding new ways to profit from aggregated data, expertise and market power. Granular is headquartered in San Francisco. Tao Capital Partners invests in technology, alternative energy, healthcare, sustainable food & agriculture, consumer, and real estate businesses that have a positive impact. Tao is an active investor with the ability to support companies through various stages of their life-cycle. Andreessen Horowitz backs bold entrepreneurs who move fast, think big and are committed to building the next major franchises in technology. Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, we provide entrepreneurs with access to our deep expertise and insights in innovation, business development, market intelligence, executive and technical talent, and marketing and brand building. Find us in Menlo Park, California, and at www.a16z.com.
News Article | April 22, 2015
Granular announced its acquisition of AcreValue, a farmland valuation platform, for an undisclosed amount. San Francisco-based Granular offers a farm management and analytics platform that aims to help farmers increase efficiency, yield and profit. “Granular’s mission is to help the agriculture industry use data to make more accurate business decisions,” said Sid Gorham, Co-founder and CEO of Granular. “It’s critical for expansion-oriented producers to find the right land at the right price and, over time, AcreValue will improve the efficiency of the farmland market.” AcreValue’s goal is to bring data and transparency to farmland rental and resale markets. It aggregates public data sources and applies computer models to provide customers with valuation estimates and downloadable reports for any field using soil, climate, geography, crop history, and other factors. AcreValue had been charging $15 per report and now intends to make the reports available for free. Short of paying for a full appraisal it can be difficult to assess the value of a parcel of farmland generally and to your operation specifically. The last decade has seen the farmland market in the U.S. change dramatically. And with more and more small farmers selling their land and operations to larger farm groups, a lot of land is expected to change hands. The information that facilitates these sales is not standardized in any digital format and there is widespread frustration from the all sides of the farmland rental and resale markets. Zillow and Auction.com are good examples of the direction AcreValue could go. Those companies, which provide transparency in consumer and commercial real estate, grew out of similar data based services, which ultimately turned into listings on those companies’ sites. Chris Seifert founded AcreValue in 2013. A former data scientist at the Climate Corporation, Seifert got the idea for the company after his family had an argument about whether to sell the family’s farm in Iowa. Since a simple, reliable and trustworthy model to quantify the value of their farm did not exist, Seifert tried to create one. He then gathered two of his friends that he had met in his Stanford dormitory and began working on AcreValue. “Emotions around farmland and heritage are really powerful things. I was helping to bring some data and add transparency to our decision making process,” Seifert said. Seifert says AcreValue’s models have been tested with growers and are based on publicly available data. The company runs two major sets of models, local and macro, to quantify the farmland value. The local model determines value based on local sets of data such as soil analysis and historical yield for the specific plot of land. The macro model incorporates broader market metrics such as interest rates and commodity prices. With Granular’s help, AcreValue plans to build out its capability and get into more regions faster. It’s currently only available in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. In addition, Granular just announced that Bruce Sherrick, a professor in agriculture and applied finance, will join its advisory board, and focus on helping AcreValue’s data science team extend its product. For Granular’s existing customers, the acquisition of AcreValue appears to be a good thing. Granular has focused on large scale farms in the U.S., and many of these customers could be buying or renting more land in the upcoming years as land is anticipated to be changing hands. Therefore, having a tool to more easily evaluate the land could help these customers with their decisions. Gorham sees farmland real estate as another example of the broader professionalization and consolidation of the agriculture industry. Just as the grain markets trade globally, it is likely that the farmland market will transition from local to national and global. In fact, farmland could be even easier to sell globally than other real estate because it’s less subjective. With the right tools in place for Ag land sales, a buyer could have a full, trustworthy, and backed up picture of the property they intend to buy, without ever seeing it in the first place. This is an interesting development for the AgTech industry. Aside from Monsanto, it looks like Silicon Valley backed startups are looking to take the lead on acquisitions, similar to Silicon Valley fueled startups in other industries.
News Article | April 22, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Granular, a leading agriculture software and analytics company, today announced that it has acquired AcreValue, a farmland real estate evaluation business. The acquisition of AcreValue enhances Granular’s service offerings to the farmland market, and gives farmers and potential investors valuable information into land values across the country. The free service allows buyers, sellers, agents and other interested parties to browse AcreValue estimates using a map-based interface. Users will also be able to download reports on each field that includes valuable data on soil type, topography, crop history, basis trends and other important features, as well as produce estimates of the value of individual fields. These estimates have proven accurate to the level where they provide useful guidance to farmland buyers and sellers. “Acquiring or leasing more acres at the right price is a top priority for members of Granular’s professional farm network,” said Sid Gorham, Granular’s CEO. “We believe that AcreValue will make the farmland resale and rental markets more convenient, transparent and efficient. This is an exciting new service the market has been waiting for, and we will continue to invest in its expansion so it can benefit Granular subscribers and the agriculture industry more broadly.” “The idea for AcreValue came out of my own family’s discussions about valuing our farmland in Iowa,” said Christopher Seifert, AcreValue’s CEO. “Granular’s vision of adding technology innovation to the farmland and agricultural market makes it a perfect acquiring partner for AcreValue. I’m excited to build out the service as part of the Granular team and to work with its base of industry-leading farmers. We hope AcreValue helps the farmland market like Zillow has the residential real estate market.” As part of this acquisition, AcreValue’s cofounder and CEO, Christopher Seifert, has joined Granular and will head the agronomy data science team. While AcreValue currently covers fields in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, Granular has aggressive goals to extend to the rest of the Corn Belt and the Delta region by the end of the year. Additionally, the company will continue to improve the accuracy of the AcreValue models and add other features of interest to buyers and sellers. The company will also develop power-user capabilities that will only be available to customers using Granular’s farm management software. To learn more about Granular’s and AcreValue visit www.granular.ag. Granular is an agriculture software and analytics company dedicated to helping industry leaders build stronger and smarter farms. With cloud, mobile and advanced data science technology, the Granular platform makes it easier to manage a large farm and use data for critical business decisions. Granular’s rapidly growing network of farms in the U.S. and Canada is finding new ways to profit from aggregated data, expertise and market power. Granular is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures. www.granular.ag AcreValue was founded in 2013 by Christopher Seifert, Randy Folse and Marc Masbou to develop automated farmland valuation models that improve the efficiency and transparency of the farmland real estate markets. Seifert is a Ph.D. candidate in Stanford University’s Earth Sciences department and previously held data science roles with The Climate Corporation and Google.
News Article | May 13, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Granular, a leading agriculture software and analytics company, announced today another major extension to the capabilities of its industry-leading farm management and analytics platform. The company has a team of more than 50 software developers and designers working to continually improve and extend the functionality of the platform based on direct feedback from several dozen of its large, professional producer customers. Granular’s latest release includes the capability to import and analyze as-applied files (starting with John Deere and Precision Planting equipment) and to monitor Profit and Loss (P&L) statements at the field level. “I have never seen a company in the agriculture industry that can develop great software as fast as Granular,” said Mark Bryant, partner of Bryant Agricultural Enterprises in Ohio and a Granular customer. “The team really knows how to listen carefully to its producer customers and build a product that supports the complex workflow on a large farm.” Granular’s latest round of enhancements focuses on the analysis of as-applied files and field-level profitability. The ability to ingest, process and analyze as-applied files off farm equipment allows Granular to build a complete electronic production record on each field with full detail on all inputs, labor and machine costs for each completed task. As-applied file analysis also allows Granular to understand sub-field level variation in costs, yields and efficiencies. “The reason I run Granular on my farm is so that I can understand and improve profitability at the enterprise, crop and field levels,” said Matt Smith, partner of Smith Farms in Arkansas and a Granular customer. “Particularly in this challenging commodity price environment, I want to manage every dollar and, just last week, Granular helped me find a five-figure billing error from one of my suppliers.” “Granular serves professional, expansion-oriented producers,” said Sid Gorham, Granular’s co-founder and CEO. “These producers view this downturn as an opportunity to expand to farm more acres and Granular is helping them build their businesses on a solid foundation.” For more information about Granular and its products visit www.granular.ag. Granular is an agriculture software and analytics company dedicated to helping industry leaders build stronger and smarter farms. With cloud, mobile and advanced data science technology, the Granular platform makes it easier to manage a large farm and use data for critical business decisions. Granular’s rapidly growing network of farms in the U.S. and Canada is finding new ways to profit from aggregated data, expertise and market power. Granular is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Follow Granular on Twitter at @GranularAG.