Based in the Netherlands, blossoming agtech startup Source.ag has announced a $23 million Series A funding round to help grow its business, less than a year after its previous $10 million round. The company helps commercial greenhouse crop growers adjust their growing conditions, optimize their resources and increase their yields by using sophisticated AI models to predict how their plants will grow under different conditions. Food production is energy and water intensive (“fun” fact: Agricultural irrigation uses 70% of the world’s water) And with By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 10 billionI wonder if using a little water to grow our food isn’t a bad idea.
The company believes that greenhouse agriculture is a sustainable, environmentally friendly and climate-resilient method of food production that provides a suitable environment for each specific crop. Source.ag’s technology continues to enable growers to make better informed decisions about their crops and greenhouses to facilitate more sustainable production.
Source.ag’s seed funding was used primarily for R&D and the development of SourceTrack, a software platform that helps growers run their facilities. It has built thousands of acres of high-tech greenhouses with hundreds of users, making it ripe for expansion. Series A funding led by Astanor Ventures and including investments from Acre Venture Partners and several leading Dutch greenhouse operators will enable the development of two new products: Source Cultivate and Source Control.
“We will be releasing several new products over the next 24 months, including Source Cultivate, which will give growers unprecedented predictive power and AI to help them find optimal growth strategies,” said Ryan Kaman, Founder and CEO of Source.ag. “Essentially, we’re giving growers a crystal ball to see how external factors and strategic decisions affect crop growth, including associated resource use, costs and returns. Accordingly, we support growers to find the best growth strategy for them.
Kaman added, “One of our customers in France used Source Cultivate to simulate different pruning and climate strategies for tomato crops. “Getting quick feedback from our AI, different strategies affect plant health, yield and profitability over the entire season,” Kaman added. “This allows the grower to find the right growing strategy – tailored to their geographic location, property value, resource type and seed genetics.”
The world’s largest fresh vegetable sectors, such as tomatoes and bell peppers, have been Source.ag’s main focus to date, but the goal is to help growers everywhere manage the best possible production.
“Source.Ag’s goal is to give growers and farmers the same superpowers to grow their crops. Source.ag can provide real-time advice on how a crop will grow, no matter what you grow or how you grow it,” Kaman says. “There are 3 billion people who do not have enough fresh produce to worry about.
For the company’s founder, Source.ag democratizes agricultural knowledge through AI, allowing fresh fruits and vegetables to be grown in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.
“We believe source.ag is uniquely positioned to ‘bridge’ the gap between the digital world of AI and the real world of plants, growers and farms,” Kaman said.
Kaman and co-founder Ernst van Bruggen have been building AI systems for large corporations for many years, but growing up in the Netherlands – one of the largest fruit and vegetable producers in Europe – the two felt that they could. To apply their knowledge and skills to help farmers feed the world. They quit their jobs and founded Source.ag in early 2020 to bring together technology and food.
For Kaman, Source.ag is not just a software provider; He sees him as a long-term partner in a growing operation where the farmers are heroes. If agriculture and technology seem like strange bedfellows, Kaman wants to point out how both growers and developers can practice the same craft and thus find common ground.
“I’ve found that artisans know and connect easily with other artisans – even outside of their own domain. Especially the passion for the profession combined with the humble curiosity in each other’s profession is the link,” concluded Kaman. “It’s amazing to see our developers spend time in the greenhouse with the grower, learning from them what resources can be built to make the grower more successful.”