Winnipeg Startup Draws Attention from Silicon Valley VC Firm

A Winnipeg-based tech company has drawn the attention of one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capital firms.

Farmers Edge, which develops high tech solutions to help farmers increase crop yields, announced this weekthat it’s received an investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a firm whose portfolio also includes Amazon, Twitter, and Google.

“We see a huge market opportunity for Farmers Edge approach to precision agriculture. They uniquely integrate real time satellite imagery and in-field telematics to maximize yield and minimize environmental footprint,” said Brook Porter, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, in a release.

“Farmer’s Edge is leading the current disruption around how crops are grown, and ultimately how crops are valued as traceability becomes an increasingly important factor in the food supply chain,” Porter added.

The company, founded in 2005, got its start using satellite imaging to help farmers find the most fertile parts of their fields.

Earlier this year, the Farmers Edge acquired a controlling share of Nebraska-based FarmCommand, the developer of a cloud-based farm management system that draws data from connected farm equipment like tractors and provides real-time analytics. That software is being integrated with the rest of Farmers Edge’s offerings allowing users to incorporate and analyze data from a wide variety of sources on a tablet or other device.

“From seed selection to yield data analytics, we bring all the information together to make a meaningful impact on production and we stick by our customers to ensure the job gets done right,” said Wade Barnes, president and CEO of Farmers Edge.  “We have an established history of partnering with both farmers and leading distributors to deliver products which will benefit the farmer and his trusted advisors.”

The company says it will use the investment to continue expanding internationally and for further development of its software platform.

The dollar value of the investment was not disclosed.

This isn’t the first big investment that Farmers Edge has attracted. In 2012, Calgary-based VC firm Avrio Capital invested over $4 million in the the company, acquiring a 15 per cent stake.