In the same space as the American agtech company flux, built on Israeli R&D to help people grow food in cities, another Israeli-founded, American-managed company is taking a stance and big investment dollars in agtech and food production.
They call it CropX.
The company announced this week that it closed its $9 million Series A financing. This is after 5 years of R&D.
The round was led by some familiar names: Finistere Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, and GreenSoil Investments, and each investor in the Series A round is dedicated to agriculture technology innovations.
Israel-based OurCrowd also participated in the round given its previous investment in the company.
“Before CropX, there was no cost-effective way to control our irrigation infrastructure,” noted Mike Mills, a Missouri farmer and CropX customer. “We are now able to accurately and easily manage our irrigation and make real-time adjustments — all from a smartphone and across multiple farms and fields. CropX’s solution allows us to lower our water and energy usage.”
With drought conditions accelerating around the globe, water management has become one of the most critical issues facing the farming sector.
Driving a new era in AgAnalytics, CropX uses advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data to transform traditional farming techniques. The investment will be used to aggressively expand the CropX team and scale the company to meet the increasing need among farmers for low-cost and simplified, remote control of their irrigation, the company reports.
It will also fund new product development including controls in nutrition, plant protection, and planting and harvesting prediction.
“As a pioneer in the AgTech sector, we are always looking for promising technologies with the potential to make a meaningful difference to farmers’ profitability and sustainability,” said Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures. “CropX is the first retail-priced solution allowing farmers to control irrigation to minimize water use, save on farm energy, augment yield, and control fertilizer runoff, thereby improving environmental compliance.”
The CropX system automatically analyzes the exact water needs of different parts of each field based on topography, soil structure, and current moisture. Farmers download the mobile app and place three wireless sensors in the ground. These sensors continuously send soil readings to the cloud, where the patent-pending CropX software determines how to effectively irrigate different parts of the field based on pattern-recognition analysis and revolutionary algorithms.
It is not the first of its kind to come out of Israel. There are a number of smart water systems in the works that measure soil variables including Common Sensor.
With CropX, designed for farmers, users self-install the system without expensive infrastructure or significant consulting input during the installation process.
“CropX is our first AgTech investment since the launch of the Farm2050 collective, which has grown significantly since its inception in late 2014,” stated Innovation Endeavors Managing Partner Dror Berman. “CropX is a leader in the digital agriculture space, helping farmers globally overcome rising irrigation challenges. We are excited to support such a fantastic team that is building the future ag tools.”
CropX’s product was developed by a team of scientists and technology experts in Israel, a global leader in water conservation technology, and New Zealand, and was validated on-farm over the past five years.
“The world is running out of water, and, therefore, food. The US drought is a growing problem that we must tackle head on. The farming industry is struggling to manage rising energy costs and restricted water supplies, while trying to decrease water waste and increase crop yields,” said CropX CEO Isaac Bentwich. “Our simple software service helps farmers easily grow more with less — and eliminates unnecessary water usage.”