Mountain View, CA and Croatia-based startup Farmeron has raised $1.4 million in a seed round led by Lee Hower of NextView Ventures and Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC, the company announced today. Farmeron provides cloud-based farm management on a a subscription SaaS basis, and debuted in November of last year. It’s currently being used by over 450 farms in 14 countries, and the funding will help the company expand to even more global destinations, according to founder and CEO Matija Kopic.
Fameron got its start because Kopic recognized that running a full-scale farming operation is a data-intensive process, and while there have been attempts by large companies with strong industry brand recognition like John Deere to provide farm management software, none really recognized the power of web-based tools or multiple data sources.
“The key differentiator [between Farmeron and most farming software available today] lies in the fact that old, desktop-based solutions don’t offer different data sources integration, which makes it very hard for a farmer to reconcile his records after a hard day at work (e.g. milking results living separately in a milking machine database, and material warehouse management data sitting somewhere else),” Kopic explained in an interview. “By integrating different data sources existing on a modern dairy farm (like milking results data, animal reproduction data, materials data) into a single cloud database, the time needed for production metrics calculation, manual recording and manual reporting is cut short.”
That’s just the beginning, however. Kopic also told BetaKit that since Farmeron is cloud-based, providing access to the cumulative data of multiple farms around the world, the potential for data mining that drives new insights into better farming practices is huge. “Huge amounts of data being generated across multiple farms / markets – all sitting in one cloud database – allow us to mine new insights into what production practices, materials, activities are utilized in every-day production, and which ones are yielding the best results,” he said.
For farmers, Farmeron’s subscription fee structure is designed to be simple, while also representing that additional tracked resources represents additional spend on the startup’s side. The company charges per animal monitored with Farmeron as a result, and can also vary depending on how many features a farmer needs (which is highly dependent on what kind of farm they run).
Kopic said that through these early months, the company has seen that much of the opportunity for its tech lies with large corporate farms, “since their animal datasets are large, and managing them takes time and money.” As a result, achieving greater penetration in the U.S., where there are over 61,000 farms doing an annual business of over $500,000 in sales, is a priority for Farmeron. Kopic says that they will use this round of funding to help build their sales and support staff and increase marketing efforts in the U.S. and in Europe to puruse more aggressive user growth.
Farmeron has little competition in a highly lucrative space, though other recent farming startups like Farmlogs are starting to recognize the opportunities, too. Still, even if the competition begins to heat up, this early-stage funding, along with a focus on both delivering value to farmers through everyday use, and culling insights that could be incredibly valuable to farming equipment and supply manufacturers and resellers, should help Farmeron make waves in an industry ripe for web-based innovation.