Sydney agtech Farmbot raises $4.6m for faster roll-out of water monitoring SaaS

Sydney agtech Farmbot raises $4.6m for faster roll-out of water monitoring SaaS

With its technology that allows farmers to receive real-time updates on water levels and automate pump control across long distances between properties, Sydney-based agtech scale-up Farmbot has raised $4.6 million in an oversubscribed funding round including backing from existing shareholders Telstra and Macdoch Ventures.

The sum exceeds an initial target of $3 million, and comes soon after the launch of US subsidiary Ranchbot which already has a team of 12 people as the group targets a market that is 10 times the size of its Australian base.

With the US expansion in mind, new investors include several high-net-worth US investors from the country's ranching sector, as well as senior executives from the firm.

Co-ounded in 2014 by Craig Hendricks and Andrew Coppin, Farmbot now employs a team of 70 people, including 20 staff employed in R&D and manufacturing on the ground in its Sydney-based head office. Its technology is used by more than 3,500 farms and stations - up from just over 3,000 at the end of 2022.

“Securing this capital raise has built the bridge to our next phase of growth. This significant equity will allow Farmbot to fulfil its growth aspirations both here in Australia and accelerate our growth of the American subsidiary, Ranchbot,” says Farmbot co-founder and managing director Andrew Coppin.

"Water is agriculture’s most critical asset and checking and monitoring water sources can be a huge hidden expense in farming and ranching operations.

"Our water management products make this process easy, instantaneous, and cost effective by implementing remote water management, pipe, pump and infrastructure control."

Coppin says combining the latest capital boost with an "impressive team" in both Australia and the US will be instrumental in excelling the trajectory of growth in the farming and ranching sectors.

"Farmbot is striving to maintain a 100 per cent year-on-year growth rate with over 20,000 sensors in the field, demonstrating significant demand for our offer and the efficiencies it provides," says Coppin.

"Farmbot supplies on-demand data to enhance on-farm decision making, empowering producers to make smart decisions, minimise use of finite resources and manage their operations more effectively.

"Farmbot's success story began with the drive to effectively manage water. Now, as we expand, our aim is to become a preferred destination for tech-driven farm management solutions providing deeper insights and comprehensive tools for smart decision-making. Farmbot is well placed to deliver on this, and more."

The funds will be used not only to support the immediate growth of Farmbot's products, but also focusing on other farm infrastructure tools and natural capital apart from water, such as soil, pasture and biodiversity. 

Telstra was also involved in the company's $2.7 million Series A in October 2021, and led a Series A+ round that took that figure to $5 million around late 2022. 

Telstra's group executive of product and technology, Kim Krogh Andersen, expresses pride in continuing to to invest in one of Australia’s leading Agtech businesses through the muru-D accelerator, which is the telco's product incubation hub.

"Our involvement with Farmbot is more than an investment - it's a strategic collaboration that reflects our dedication to the agricultural sector and regional Australia," explains Krogh Andersen.

"Farmbot's innovative technology is fostering better communication and data-exchange for farmers, as well as enabling more sustainable and productive farming practices.

"This collaboration is a testament to our belief in the transformative power of technology in agriculture, and demonstrates our commitment to enhancing Agtech innovation across Australian farms."

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