AgTech Startups : Ag Tech Products & AgTech Services News

Google invests in AgTech Startup.

Google has pumped $15 million into a farming-focused technology startup, the latest in a surge of investment applying internet innovations to growing food.

The funding round led by Google's investment arm brings to nearly $28 million the total amount of money pumped into Farmers Business Network (FBN) by backers including powerhouse Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.

FBN co-founder Charles Baron told, "Farmers are quintessential entrepreneurs; they are on their own and are mechanics, hackers, managers, animal specialists and more. Agriculture has always seen lots of innovation. What you are seeing more of now is venture-backed companies pushing into agriculture."

Silicon Valley-based FBN is part of a flourishing sector known as agricultural technology hence "AgTech'.

FBN is a platform that gives a chance to farmers to pool and share data gathered from arrays of sensors and computers involved with tilling the soil. According to Baron, Data is analyzed by computers in the internet cloud to extract insights on anything from which seeds grow best in which soil to optimizing irrigation tactics or anticipating weather patterns.

Baron said, "FBN connects the world's farmers together and allows them to share knowledge to farm better." We allow them to consult with each other about optimizing products. Now, a single farmer has access to more information than they ever had. Farmers have been advising each other for generations; farmers get together at diners, coffee shops, co-ops, grain elevators. Farmers have been advising each other for generations; farmers get together at diners, coffee shops, co-ops, grain elevators. FBN taking that anecdotal conversation and backing it with data and putting it in a usable format online."

According to FBN, Modern farming has grown technologically advanced, with sensors and computing chips woven into operations and equipment. For example, tractors dispensing seed or fertilizer are typically self-guided using GPS mapping.

FBN helps farmers put such data to work in plans for handling fields, and to see for themselves which seeds or fertilizers meet their needs instead of relying on marketing pitches from sellers.

According to Leclerc, Advances in drones, robotics, and the flourishing "Internet of Things" where traditionally dumb objects are being made smart with sensors and computing power have helped innovations to take root in farming. Add into the mix cloud computing that lets rich analytics be handed quickly by data centers online and then pushed back to farmers' smartphones.

Leclerc said, "It is a confluence of technologies that have reached a level of maturity and sophistication, and venture capitalists looking for growth opportunities outside the traditional tech industry." The AgTech sector includes bio-plastics, biofuels, fish farming, genomics, getting fresh produce to shops without spoiling, and ways to use food waste.