Australian agtech startup The Yield has raised $6.5 million in a Series A round led by Bosch Australia, with participation from KPMG Australia, AgFunder, and David Paradice.
Founded in 2014, The Yield is developing Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in conjunction with food growers to help improve customer yields and decision making on-farm, combining sensors and other hardware with a data analytics platform.
The funding, which brings the total raised by the startup to date to $11.5 million, will be used to accelerate new product development, launch its Sensing+ product into the market, growing the company’s sales and marketing efforts, and launch in the US.
Its market launch planned for the second half of 2017, Sensing+ is a microclimate sensing solution, measuring data from various points around a farm, analysing it, and delivering to growers through an app predictions on growing conditions, allowing them to make better decisions around when to harvest, irrigate, plant, feed, and protect their crops.
Ros Harvey, founder and managing director of The Yield, said the company sought strategic investors to help it deliver solutions at scale.
“We now have some of the world’s best engineers from Bosch working on our microclimate system, we have KPMG’s deep industry insights and commercial expertise, and AgFunder’s global community helping us bring solutions to growers in Australia and beyond,” she said.
“Australia is the perfect breeding ground for agtech innovation, because our conditions are so tough. Growers are innovative because they need to be. Helping them to solve real problems, while creating reliable and accurate technology they can use day in, day out, is essential.”
With existing backer Bosch Australia having signed on as the startup’s technology partner in 2015, president Gavin Smith said the partnership, and “the unique attributes of our local market” present an opportunity to establish Bosch Australia as a “centre of competence in agtech”.
Ben van Delden, head of agtech at KPMG Australia, agreed the firm’s investment too is a strategic one, looking to make “a real difference to enhancing food growers’ profitability and competitiveness”.
He said, “Our agribusiness clients are wanting digital solutions to optimise their farm decision making and improve productivity and profitability. The combination of The Yield’s technology platform with KPMG’s business performance optimisation and digital consulting services presents clients with the ideal combination of practical tools and insights to transform how they make vital yield enhancing decisions.”
KPMG has doubled down on agtech of late following its co-authoring of a StartupAUS report last year outlining how, supported by agtech, Australia’s agricultural sector can develop into a $100 billion industry by 2030.
As well as launching an agtech practice, KPMG last month became an investor in and lead partner of the new Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, which aims to accelerate the growth of Australia’s food industry through technology.
It comes at a time when interest in agtech is at what seems like an all-time high; PwC recently launched a new specialist Food and Agribusiness Advisory Team and food safety assurance offering, while agtech innovation hub SproutX announced last month the raising of a $10 million venture capital fund managed by Artesian Venture Capital in conjunction with the launch of its accelerator program.
Image: Ros Harvey. Source: The Yield.