Conservis Corporation, the global leader in cloud-based farm management software solutions, announced an initial close on $10 million in Series A financing led by Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, a Chicago venture fund that focuses on new and emerging technologies in the agriculture and food industries. Existing investors Middleland Capital, and Heartland Farms also participated in the round.
The funding announcement was made at the Ag Innovation Showcase taking place this week in St. Louis.
“Conservis is the first mover in the enterprise farm management market, offering farmers the management tools needed to run large and complex farming operations,” said Robert Shapiro. “Conservis is our first investment in this market because we believe it will be an important platform to help farmers address the challenges and opportunities they face as new data acquisition and data management technologies are applied to agriculture.”
“There’s a dramatic change happening on every farm in the world,” said Patrick Christie, Conservis, founder and chief executive officer. “It’s the big data revolution and it’s absolutely bearing down on agriculture. The big questions are, ‘Who will control the data?’ and ‘How can producers harness this transformation?’ We start with the farmer, not the technology.”
“Putting farmers at the center of the data revolution will profoundly change agriculture on the same scale that rural electrification changed the lives of their great grandparents,” continued Christie. “This translates into strategic decision-making and, ultimately, higher profits. Conservis’ customers have greater visibility into everything that’s happening on the farm. The software captures crucial information and serves up instant, real-time data access and reporting.”
The global agricultural market is estimated at more than $3 trillion annually, and a recent USDA census estimates there are 2.1 million farms in the U.S. alone. Many experts believe global food production will have to double by 2050 to meet the pressures of a growing population and rising standards of living. The increasing use of cropland for energy production is an additional challenge.
“We greatly appreciate the continued commitment and support of our investors. This funding accelerates further development of our Conservis software platform, increases our integration efforts and supports geographic expansion,” continued Christie.
As part of its investment, Cultivian Sandbox named former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Robert Shapiro to the Conservis board of directors. Shapiro, co-founder of Sandbox Industries, which partnered with Cultivian in 2013 to form Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, joins Richard Pavelski, CEO of Heartland Farms, who has served as a director since 2012 and Conservis CEO Patrick Christie.
The Conservis solution was created with farmers, for farmers, so agricultural enterprises can make confident management decisions based on solid data. Farmers have exclusive access to their private cloud-based database from mobile devices and desktops. Professional reports are easily created and shared with partners, banks, insurance companies, landlords, and other stakeholders. Farmers can plan purchases and activities, then identify and verify that their production is on target and make adjustments in real time as needed. Unlike traditional methods (paper, Excel spreadsheets) and other farm management software, Conservis tracks activities and inventories, down to the field, truck, and bin level.
Currently at Version 7.0, Conservis helps farmers be more efficient, more competitive and more productive season after season. Conservis is used on millions of acres, on three continents, including farms in 26 U.S. states. To date, farmers have used Conservis to track and manage over 6 billion pounds of grain.