Green Brain, an Adelaide-based irrigation monitoring and management services company that works with a who's who in Australian food and wine companies from Fresh Produce Group to Yalumba to Bega, has been acquired by New Zealand-founded, Israel-headquartered global agtech company CropX for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in 1984 by Andrew Skinner and led by his son Dominic since 2020, Green Brain has more than 1,500 customers around Australia who draw on its expertise in irrigation optimisation, powered by data from soil sensors, weather stations and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
"This is an exciting new chapter for Green Brain as we join CropX's global team of farm-focused innovators," says Dominic Skinner, Green Brain's general manager.
"We are energised by the expertise that CropX brings to accelerating Green Brain's development roadmap, opportunities to improve customer support, and to grow our impact in Australia and beyond.
"The Green Brain brand is well-recognised in Australia and will become even more prominent as we bring CropX solutions to our customers."
CropX was founded in 2013 in New Zealand with a focus on innovations in soil sensor technology and digital platforms for accessing data and generating insights from sensors.
In 2017 the company moved its headquarters to Israel and since then has made acquisitions in the USA, the Netherlands, and in its original home of New Zealand. Today, its farm management system not only includes irrigation optimisation, but also advice on fungal diseases, soil and crop health, nitrogen leaching, salinity, and more.
Today's announcement marks CropX's first acquisition in Australia as it continues to consolidate a fragmented digital agronomy sector, following on from its US$30 million (AUD$45 million) Series C financing round in early 2023.
"Green Brain's experienced and skilled team will accelerate CropX growth in Australia and New Zealand, building a synergy that will greatly benefit Australian farmers. We are happy to welcome them to the CropX family," says CropX Australasia managing director Eitan Dan.
"Green Brain's expertise in irrigation optimisation is a perfect fit with our company's DNA. Its prominence in the Australian market will allow CropX to reach a broader customer base and allow us to help Australian farms succeed," says CropX CEO Tomer Tzach.
Green Brain's journey began in the 1980s as Measurement Engineering Australia, building monitoring and measurement systems for different industries, but especially in the environmental space.
But in 2020 two directors sold the business to fellow Adelaide businessman Seth Thuraisingham from Consilium Technology, changing the name to Green Brain.
"That was partly because it was easier to say, and our main product in the market was a web app that farmers used to manage their irrigation based on soil moisture, sensors, sending data to the web," Skinner explains.
"Then they [Consilium] went through a merger and acquisition process, joined with elmTEK and changed their name to Aurizn, and that's a business defence consulting company, and it had Green Brain as a little ag company on the side that didn't really fit into the remit and the direction that they were going," he says, adding Aurizn is also an Adelaide-based group.
Green Brain has built up an enviable portfolio of major clients in agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, including Zilzie Wines, Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE), Sugar Research Australia, Select Harvests (ASX: SHV), Aroona Farms, Tumut Grove Citrus, Red Belly Citrus, Nippy's and more.
Skinner says the company currently has nine staff, and all will be moving across to the new entity.
"Over time we would look to bring CropX's existing Australian presence in with the presence of the Green Brain business," he says.
"There's a very nice synergy in the in the two products that CropX make and what Green Brain have offered, so we think there is quite an exciting pathway forward for new product releases into the market, and new features in our Green Brain web app."
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