In keeping with our newly established tradition, we’d like to introduce our latest portfolio company, Teralytic. Teralytic have developed an industry leading all-in-one soil sensor and crop management dashboard for the agriculture industry.
While we continue to be a technology led, sector agnostic fund we are always drawn to industries with large problems that can be best solved with the application of technology. Through the generations the agriculture sector has consistently been a strong beneficiary of technological advancement. With the expected continued growth in population and development globally, the global farming industry is going to have to continue to produce more food with less arable land. This challenge coupled with the continuing squeeze on margins means that there is plenty of opportunity for new, smart and effective technological advancements designed to reduce costs and maximise yields.
Why soil sensors?
As a fund, we’ve seen pitch decks for countless AgTech solutions ranging from drone and satellite image analysis to LiDAR and camera based analytics for everything from crop health to autonomous equipment. There are a couple of reasons we were drawn to Teralytic as an AgTech solution worth backing.
First, we particularly like the soil monitoring space. There is a lot of value delivered through many of the different technologies out there ranging from time and effort reduction to early disease detection. However, it is our view (and that of the farmers we spoke with) that to truly optimise the health and yield, and therefore return, of a farm or orchard it all begins with the health of the soil.
Second, among the sensor companies out there Teralytic has, by far, the most compelling technology we could find. By taking a quick look at the soil sensor space it’s easy to see that the market has a lot of competitors. From well-funded startups like CropX, FarmersEdge and Arable to large corporates like Monsanto and John Deere, there are plenty of sensor options for farmers to choose from. However, there are several drawbacks that these sensors tend to have in common; they are hard to install, they have limited connectivity options and range, they are very limited in the data they collect and, worst of all, they are expensive.
One sensor to rule them all.
Teralytic has approached precision farming from a “farmer first” perspective, meaning that they are focussed on two things; ease of use and comprehensive insights. With that in mind they’ve developed their sensors to be easy, set and forget, all-in-one probes that are only a fraction of the cost of most sensors on the market. The probes they’ve designed are amongst the most comprehensive on the market and measure O2, CO2, Electrical Conductivity, Moisture, Temperature and pH. Their sensors utilise the versatile and energy efficient LoRa network which gives them up to 15km range from the easy-to-install gateway which means no expensive wiring or data plans required for the farmers.
The real value kicks in once the probes are in the ground. Their easy to use dashboard uses advanced machine learning to provide the farmers not just with a real-time view of their soil health but also predictive analytics for soil health management. With their current users, they have been able to provide the insights required for accurate variable rate irrigation and fertiliser applications which has both reduced input costs and also led to increased quantity and quality of yield.
With their impressive results so far and their strong pipe-line Teralytic has a bright future ahead of them and we’re very excited that Steve and his incredible team have chosen us to join them on this journey.