CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, U.S. — FarmLead, an online grain marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to list, negotiate and finalize grain deals, has raised $6.5 million to support the company’s expansion into U.S. markets and the opening of headquarters in Chicago. The investments were led by Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), with additional investments from Avrio Ventures, the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and Serra Ventures.
With the investments, Kiersten Stead of MGV and Aki Georgacacos of Avrio Ventures will join FarmLead’s board of directors.
Founded in 2013, FarmLead has grown to serve more than 4,000 farms across North America and has seen levels of tonnage traded via the platform rise 200% to 300% year-over-year. Key additions to FarmLead’s product line include a forward contracting service that will allow growers to sell to interested buyers based on forecasted grain yields, a service that should enable better financial management of farm operations.
“Despite the recent levels of technology innovation in agriculture, very few companies are aimed at the critical commerce piece of the equation that helps farmers realize profits from day one,” said Stead, investment director at MGV. “FarmLead built a platform that can do just that and is a key part of a diversified approach to marketing and trading grain. We are delighted to support a great team and to partner with committed investors to enable an open marketplace that gives the industry more options and a differentiated advantage.”
Through its platform, FarmLead allows farmers to post their bids online or engage directly with farmers who have listed their grain for sale. The online marketplace provides flexibility when it comes to negotiating physical cash for conventional, organic or identity preserved grains. Now, as Farmlead expands its Midwest office in Chicago, the company said it is looking for regional business development representatives, along with key U.S.-based operational roles to better service customers in key crop markets.
“This investment signals the appetite for a solution that accelerates the rates of commercial grain marketing transactions,” said Brennan Turner, co-founder and chief executive officer of FarmLead. “Our ability to increase deal flow for farmers, enabling them to negotiate better prices and other key trade terms online, allows farms to take ownership of their grain production and marketing lifecycle. This is the future of grain trading and we are truly poised to transform the way agricultural commodities are traded worldwide.”