Ottawa’s homegrown FarmLead lands $6.5M series-A funding

FarmLead cofounders Alain Goubau and Brennan Turner.
FarmLead cofounders Alain Goubau and Brennan Turner. (Photo by Craig Lord)

After carefully tending to its seed round, Ottawa-based FarmLead has successfully harvested $6.5-million in series-A funding. (All figures in US$)

The round was lead by the investment arm of Monsanto Co., one of the largest agricultural biotechnology firms in the world. Avrio Ventures, MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and Serra Ventures also contributed to the round.

FarmLead provides an online marketplace for farmers to sell their grain. A press release announcing the funding says that the company now serves 4,000 farms across North America, with levels of tonnage traded increasing by 200 to 300 per cent year-over-year.

Posting and negotiating on the site is free, but the company takes a small percentage of each transaction. Co-founder and CEO Brennan Turner told Techopia Live today that the average deal on FarmLead’s marketplace is valued at $70,000.

Accompanying the funding round is the completion of an office expansion into Chicago, which the company identifies as a key access point to U.S. grain regulators.

Kiersten Stead of Monsanto Growth Ventures and Aki Georgacacos of Avrio Ventures will join FarmLead’s board of directors as part of the funding deal.

“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 Ms. Stead in a statement. “FarmLead built a platform that can do just that and is a key part of a diversified approach to marketing and trading grain.”

“This investment signals the appetite for a solution that accelerates the rates of commercial grain marketing transactions,” said Mr. Turner in a statement.

“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.”