FarmLead, an Ottawa-based online grain marketplace, announced a $6.5 million USD Series A raise led by Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), the venture capital arm of Monsanto. Additional investments came from Avrio Ventures, the MaRS Innovation Accelerator Fund, and Serra Ventures.
The money will go toward supporting FarmLead’s expansion into the US market and the opening of its US headquarters in Chicago, a key access point to prominent US grain production regions.
“This investment signals the appetite for a solution that accelerates the rates of commercial grain marketing transactions,” said FarmLead CEO and co-founder Brennan Turner. “Our ability to increase deal flow for farmers, enabling them to negotiate better prices and other key trade terms online, allows farms to take ownership of their grain production and marketing lifecycle. This is the future of grain trading and we are truly poised to transform the way agricultural commodities are traded worldwide.”
FarmLead allows farmers to buy, sell, and negotiate grain deals online. The platform offers farmers flexibility with trading cash for grains and allows them to network with other farmers outside of their region. This attracted MGV, which regularly invests in teams and ideas that improve agriculture across all technology stacks.
“Despite the recent levels of technology innovation in agriculture, very few companies are aimed at the critical commerce piece of the equation that helps farmers realize profits from day one,” said Kiersten Stead, investment director at MGV. “FarmLead built a platform that can do just that and is a key part of a diversified approach to marketing and trading grain. We are delighted to support a great team and to partner with committed investors to enable an open marketplace that gives the industry more options and a differentiated advantage.”
In June 2015, FarmLead was one of the 15 Canadian startups to be selected for the Metabridge retreat, which partners startups with investors, mentors, advisors and strategic partners from various North American tech centres.