Cherry Tree & Associates | January 2023 | Volume I, Issue 3
Monthly Commentary

Mid-winter provides a good opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture in the ag market. There’s a saying in the Midwest that if you don’t like the weather just wait 30 minutes and it will change. Agriculture capital markets may not be quite that volatile, but the wisdom of the statement applies.

The sand in the gears of the venture capital space appears to have extended to venture-stage deals in ag. Deals are still getting done but valuations are under some pressure and deals are taking some time to get completed. Further up the value chain, larger-scale deals are still happening. Kyle Welborn at CropLife had a good roundup of 2022’s venture investing and exit roundup (link below).

The commercialization of “Ag Tech” is something we’re paying a lot of attention to after billions of investment dollars in recent years. CNHi has released multiple additions to their autonomous solutions – Driverless Tillage & Driver Assist Harvest Solutions. This week, Deere unveiled its fully autonomous 8R tractor at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this past weekend (Jan.5-8th). See links below for both announcements. 

We’re looking forward to the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in March. Please reach out if you’re planning to be in attendance. We’d love to connect.

If anyone is interested in a confidential conversation about what we are seeing in the market and/or our advisory services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 952-893-9012 or

Mike Buttry, Managing Director | 952.253.6027
Traction Ag Acquires Granular Business

Traction Ag, an accounting software targeting growers, has acquired Granular Business, a farm financial management software. Traction Ag expects to integrate the two platforms to provide actionable insights while reducing administrative burden on farmers and their employees. Granular is Traction Ag’s first acquisition since its founding in 2020.
GoodLeaf Farms Raises $150 Million in Equity

GoodLeaf Farms, a Canada-based vertical farming company, raised $150 million in equity capital, led by McCain Foods and joined by Power Sustainable Lios. Founded in 2011, the Company grows microgreens and baby greens in its 50,000-square-foot fully automatic farm in Ontario. The Company expects to use the funding to add two automated farms in Calgary and Montreal, adding 200,000 square feet.
Sound Agriculture Secures $75 Million in Funding

US-based Sound Agriculture has raised a $75 million Series D round led by BMO Impact Investment Fund and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The Company, founded in 2013, offers a product that enhanc-es nitrogen uptake in crops and an on-demand plant-breeding service. The Company expects to use the investment to advance its research platform, grow sales, and add new partnerships on the plant breeding side.
Verdant Robotics Secures $46.5 Million in Funding

Verdant Robotics closed a $46.5 million Series A for its “Robotics as a Service” technology that combines crop applications with data analytics. Cleveland Avenue led the round with participation from DCVC Bio, Future Ventures, SeaX Ventures, Autotech Ventures, Cavallo Ventures, and Ag-Funder. The Company expects to use the funding towards scaling its robot fleet. Verdant Robotics reports that it is under contract to service about 40% of the US carrot market, exclusively, for the next five years.
Ramani Receives $32 Million in Series A

Ramani, a Tanzanian software company, secured $32 million in an equity and debt Series A round. The lead investor was Flexcap Ventures and Infoscout founder, Jared Schreiber. Ramani has a cloud-based inventory management system and procurement software designed specifically for Africa’s micro-distributors. The Company reports having grown micro-distributors’ revenue by 20% through the use of its platform.
Aquaconnect Raises $15M in Series A

Aquaconnect, an India-based aquaculture management platform, secured a $15 million Series A round. The round was led by Lok Capital with participation from Louis Dreyfus Company Ventures and Suneight Investment, existing investors also participated. The Company’s platform helps organize and digitize supply chain logistics for fish and shrimp farmers. Aquaconnect expects to use the new capital to expand its product portfolio for both pre-harvest and post-harvest services.
CNH Industrial Invests in Stout Industrial Technology

CNH Industrial has acquired a 10% minority stake in Stout, a US-based agtech startup that is focused on smart implements for agriculture that are powered by Artificial Intelligence. Stout’s Smart Cultivator is a software-controlled implement to distinguish crops from weeds. Once the weeds are identified, the Smart Cultivator simultaneously cultivates crops and removes weeds. Stout expects that the machines will soon be distributed via CNH Industrial’s New Holland brand’s dealer network.
J.R. Simplot Company

The J.R. Simplot Company, an Idaho-based food and agribusiness company, acquired G-Mac’s Ag-Team, a retailer offering agricultural products and related series. G-Mac’s has 15 retail stores throughout Western Canada that are expected to become Simplot Grower Solutions locations. Simplot Grower Solutions focuses on technology, innovation, and agronomic knowledge to provide products and services to its customers.
Gene Editing Startup Raises $124 Million

Inari, a seed gene editing startup that enhances the natural diversity of seeds, has closed a $124 million Series E round bringing the Company’s total funding to $475M and raising its valuation to $1.5B. The round saw participation from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Inari founder Flagship Pioneering along with Hanwha Impact Partners, NGS Super, and Banque Pictet. The Com-pany expects to use the funding to scale up product development on the road to commercializa-tion.
DeHaat Raises $60 Million in Series E Funding

DeHaat, an ag marketplace, raised $60 million in Series E funding led by Sofina Ventures and Te-masek. DeHaat serves farmers in India with its artificial intelligence-based platform that connects farmers with goods and services. The Company reports serving over 1.5 million farmers in over 150 districts in India. The Series E round puts Dehaat’s valuation between $700 million and $800 mil-lion.
BeeHero Raises $42 Million in Series B Round

Beehero, a precision pollination platform, completed a $42 million Series B funding round. Convent Capital was the lead investor. BeeHero is an Israeli startup that uses data analytics, artificial intelligence, and IoT sensors to provide better crop yields for farmers. The Company expects to use the funding to further invest in R&D and help generate more data. To date, BeeHero has raised $64 million.
Elevate Farms Raises $19.3 Million

The vertical farming company, Elevate Farms, raised $19.3 million through a series of investments worldwide. Brightspark was a significant investor in this round of funding. The Company grows greens that are blockchain tracked from seed to sale in its vertical farming facilities. Its goal is to grow a predictable product with consistent quality 365 days a year.
Tractor Zooms Secures $5 Million in Funding

The digital marketplace platform that streamlines the equipment procurement process for farmers and vendors, Tractor Zoom, secured $5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Builders VC and Bienville Capital, along with participation from Next Level Ventures, Wintrust Ventures, Innova Memphis, HPA, ISA Ventures, Ag Ventures Alliance, and others. Kyle McMahon, an Iowa farmer, founded the Company amid his frustrations with finding and valuing farm equipment. The Company expects to use the funding to invest in more data science products to enhance its platform.
Barnstorm Agtech Receives $217,500 From Harvest Returns

Barnstorm, a Canada-based agriculture robotics company received a $217,500 investment through Harvest Returns’ investment platform. Barnstorm is developing driverless utility tractors that can be used for basic services such as tillage, seeding, and spraying. The Company plans to use the funding to further develop its autonomous field systems.
Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis. Our firm specializes in serving middle market companies and their owners, whether private, public, or divisions of larger corporations.
Important Disclosures

The information included in this publication has been obtained from public sources, and is not based upon private or confidential Cherry Tree information. Cherry Tree gathers its data from sources it considers reliable. However, it does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided within this publication. Any opinions presented reflect the current judgment of the authors and are subject to change. Cherry Tree makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy of this information or any opinions expressed by the authors. Officers, directors, partners of Cherry Tree and Cherry Tree proprietary investment funds may have positions in the securities of the companies discussed, and certain affiliates of Cherry Tree may recommend to specific clients the purchase and sale of securities discussed in the publication. This publication does not constitute a recommendation with respect to the securities of any company discussed herein, and it should not be construed as such. Cherry Tree or its affiliates may from time to time provide investment banking or related services to these companies. Like all Cherry Tree employees, the authors of this publication receive compensation that is affected by overall firm profitability. We undertake no obligation to update any information in this publication.