My idle thoughts on tech startups
Farmeron – Why SaaS for Cows is Incredibly Exciting
Farmeron announced the closing of its $1.4M seed round today. NextView is thrilled to have co-led this round along with our friends at SoftTech VC and Farmeron’s existing investors 500 Startups, Seedcamp, and TAG.
I first met Matija Kopic, Farmeron’s co-founder & CEO, a few months ago. It was one of those first meetings where you’re instantly impressed by an entrepreneur and the ambitious vision they’re pursuing. We’ve invested in quite a few SaaS businesses though I have to admit this is the first time we’ve invested in one that’s not priced by software seats or flat annual subscription but rather $/animal/month. So it took me a minute to describe to my partners why SaaS for cows is incredibly exciting…
Farmeron is a SaaS company focused on the data management challenges facing the agriculture sector. When you think of web-enabled startups, farms don’t instantly spring to mind. Yet agriculture is a massive global industry and one that is increasingly reliant on data for a range of needs – improving production, benchmarking across farms, even regulatory and financial reporting. Trained as a computer scientist and coming from a family whose background is in large-scale corporate farming, Matija saw a clear opportunity to solve many of these data challenges with easy to use web-based software.
Initially focused on dairy & livestock operations, Farmeron’s system takes in data from a myriad of sources from farm production systems (e.g. automated milking machines that spit out data) to veterinary data (e.g. age, weight, immunization, breeding status, etc) to inventory management info (e.g. feedstocks). Some of this data remains in “siloed” offline computers (pun intended) or even requires manual input. But increasingly even centuries old industries like agriculture are becoming highly automated, in both developed and emerging economies, with more internet connected systems and data nodes generating raw information. In time Farmeron will likely expand into crops farms (e.g. wheat, corn, etc) but livestock alone represents a massive market opportunity for the company.
More broadly, the business Farmeron is building is an example of an overall wave of an “Internet of Things”. There are now more internet connected devices and sensors than people accessing the internet, as Cisco highlighted in 2011. The white paper they wrote about it is here and there’s also a useful infographic. In fact Cisco highlighted a company making wireless sensors for tracking cows and other livestock. As the number of systems and sensors connected to the internet continues to proliferate, we strongly believe this will create opportunities for both B2B and consumer-facing startups to help build this infrastructure, enable applications on top of it, and derive insight from the data they generate.
We’re incredibly excited and privileged to work with Matija and the rest of the Farmeron team to build a great company.