Monsanto Growth Ventures Invests in FarmLead

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Today (March 20), FarmLead, an online grain marketplace where buyers and sellers can list, negotiate and finalize grain deals, announced a $6.5 million Series A raise led by Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV). Additional investments were made from Avrio Ventures, the MaRS Innovation Accelerator Fund and Serra Ventures. Founded in Ottawa, Ontario, the close supports FarmLead’s expansion into the U.S. market and the opening of its U.S. headquarters in Chicago, a key access point to prominent U.S. grain production regions. Kiersten Stead of MGV and Aki Georgacacos of Avrio Ventures will join FarmLead’s Board of Directors.

Since its inception in 2013, FarmLead has grown to serve more than 4,000 farms across North America and has seen levels of tonnage traded rise 200-300 percent higher year over year. As a center of commerce for grain traders, the FarmLead Marketplace extends users’ market reach and the opportunity to achieve higher return on investment.

Once limited by highly localized, relationship-dependent practices, farmers now have access to a wealth of buyers online to garner the best pricing possible for their grain. Key additions to FarmLead’s product line include an innovative forward contracting service that will allow growers to sell to interested buyers based on grain yield forecasts, enabling 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,” says Kiersten 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.”

Through its award-winning platform, FarmLead allows farmers to post their bids online or engage directly with farmers who have listed their grain for sale. No other marketplace provides the same level of 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 is actively recruiting regional customer success and business development representatives, along with key US-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,” says FarmLead CEO and cofounder, Brennan Turner. “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.”

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