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FarmLogs Raises $4M Series A To Further Advance Farming Into The Age of Apps (techcrunch.com)
119 points by vollmarj 1256 days ago | hide | past | web | 36 comments | favorite



5% of farms in the U.S. are using Farmlogs! That's insane!

Congratulations to two of the nicest founders I have met and their team :)


Absolutely impressive. I'm an investor in an agricultural (non-software) startup and what people may not appreciate is the sales process required to make in-roads in this industry. Farmers can be very skeptical (rightly so) about anything that may disrupt their ability to yield crop. It can also be a very high-touch industry in which you need to give face time to your end users. The corollary to this is that once you've proven yourself -- your competition has a deep moat to overcome to take you out.


Would you have interest in a tractor drawn, in-field mobile hemp decorticator that is being developed by Canfiber in BC?


Thanks!


I live on a small farm and know quite a few farmers socially. The 5% number seems hard to believe.

According to Wikipedia[1], there were 2.2 million farms in 2007. Since the number of farms is decreasing (land development, consolidation, etc), let's say today there are only 2 million. At 5%, that's 100k farms on FarmLogs. That's impressive. I wonder how many of them are paying customers?

Especially given that most farmers I know are older (think Baby Boomer age) and are barely competent using the Internet never mind an app/SAAS like this.

1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_the_United_Stat...


The number of farmers is essentially meaningless because of the way the USDA counts who is a farmer. Anyone with sales of over $1000 per year is considered a farmer and that is how they get the 2 million farmers number.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/farm-household-w...

What is more meaningful is to look at farms with sales of $250,000 per year or more. They're 9% of farms but account for 80% of sales. There are roughly 125,000 farms in this group.


Sure, you're making my point exactly. The soundbite "5% of farms in the US are using Farmlogs" sounds impressive doesn't really mean much without further qualification. In fact, I find it misleading. So did you, evidently.

There are two (at least) different definitions of "farm." One is large commercial business often utilizing a thousand acres or more. I suppose these are FarmLogs' focus?

The other is family-operated (except for seasonal help perhaps), typically less than 250 acres. I live in Lancaster County, PA where farms average 78 acres. The farm I live on (and operate) is ~50 acres and has crop & animal revenue far less than $100k. But it's still a viable farm.

Average revenue per farm in Lancaster County is $183k. That's another almost meaningless number without knowing the distribution. I'd guess 10% of the farms I know are much more than $250k.

http://www.lancasterfarmlandtrust.org/heritage/farming-lanca...


Without their qualifying where the 5% figure comes from it is useless conjecture.

If you're talking farms with over a million dollars in sales per year (around 40,000) then having 2000 farms using FarmLogs is highly significant.

Either way very proud of this Michigan startup's success to date.


Hey Lancaster county, Berks county here. I'd love to hear about how much tech you use on your farm, and if you're active in moving to use more. Are you a generally tech minded person? A developer?


The key word missing from the article is "row"... "5% of US row crop farms". https://twitter.com/paulg/status/423532157277974528


It looks like there are around 400,000 row crop farmers in the US. 20,000 users, plus who knows how many worldwide, is quite impressive given the nature of the business. I do wonder how they are driving so much traffic? As a farmer myself, I've never heard of the service outside of HN circles.


You must know a different crowd of farmers than I do. The ones I know understand tech and are using it[1]. GPS and custom spreadsheets are the basics.

1) the ones who didn't aren't farming anymore


It says 5% of "farms" ; is that farmers, farms, farm hands?

The farming automation stuff happening now is fascinating. I saw a piece on Bloomberg or somewhere similar that had old farmers just sitting in a room monitoring their equipment on computers.

Edit: another note in terms of "old" people using computers -- the guys that are in their 70s now were in their late 30s and 40s when the IBM PC was released in 1981.

I think the abilities of the 65+ market are under estimated both by younger people and the older people themselves. Modern interfaces just tend to be designed very poorly for people who poorer eye sight, hearing, and so on.


> the guys that are in their 70s now were in their late 30s and 40s when the IBM PC was released in 1981.

And they were using them back then then too. Growing up in the early 80s on a farm, I don't remember any farming families that didn't have a computer in the home. It was an essential tool.


It's probably some combination of people downloading the app and signing up for the free service. It is most likely not a reflection of how people use the app on a regular basis or pay for the service.

Good luck, guys. It's a tough row to hoe considering all of the major agricultural machine manufacturers (Case, Deere, etc.) have some variation of this service coupled with world-wide dealer networks to sell it. If you think you're going to be able to wedge yourself between farmers and the dealers that they have been dealing with for years and in some cases generations, best of luck with that.

Interesting idea, but the best they can hope for is a talent acquisition buy-out.


I wonder how much the Climate Corporation acquisition did to boost investor interest in ag tech startups? Also glad to see success from a Midwestern startup. Congratulations FarmLogs!


One thing I've seen before, but never quite understood, is how a company like this can exist, but have a position for "Lead Engineer" open on their jobs page. Is it usually the case that their previous lead engineer moved onto something else, or that they bootstrapped a functional version until this point, and now they need someone with more experience leading a team?


It is simply that our CTO is mature enough to recognize that process and engineering management isn't his strong suit and that he needs to be able to double down on architecture. A great lead engineer will help stay efficient as we add more amazing people to the team. We already have really great hackers on the team and are looking to add more.


Gotcha. Didn't intend for my question to come across as critical (if it did). Think I first read about you guys from Inc. Seems like you're positioned to accomplish really great things. Thanks for your response, and congratulations on the new funding.


I remember speaking with you guys about a position, when I was last looking. Even though it didn't quite work out I remember you guys seeming like a really great group of guys. Congrats on the success.

For anyone looking, it was mostly me looking to move to a different state than they were located in. All in all seemed like a great place to work. :)


I think this is such a neat business. The farmers I've met are fairly savvy business-people and will probably be very happy to have better information about their business in a way that Quickbooks and Excel can't easily provide.


Congrats, and a great pursuit that may not be SnapChat famous, but may have an easier and much needed value proposition. Modern farm machinery is pretty-well wired, but it's also believable that the systems to organize and make use of such data could be improved. Modern combines are fun to ride around in...like a truck, except relatively safe to watch movies while driving given the speeds involved.


Identifying and creating efficiency in agriculture is one of the backbones of civilization :)


Sounds very similar to Nokia Life Tools which launched in India back in 2009 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_Life_Tools "The agricultural part of the service consists of localized information including weather conditions, advice about crop cycles, general tips and techniques, as well as market prices for crops. Farmers in the pilot scheme said getting daily prices on their phones reduced their dependency on agents for basic information, enabling them to negotiate with greater confidence."


From a tech savvy farmer friend:

> Yep it is USA only but it's interesting. Especially the market watch on grain price. Farmers never have a notion what the worldwide price for barley is even thou they sell it.

> Also the farm log on field performance is something that would work on a smaller irish scale.

> There would be a definite appetite for something like that.

I don't understand why apps such as this are limited to US only? There are plenty of early adopters in the rest of the world.


The ironic thing is if they had written FarmVille, they'd have raised $4Bn. VC priorities are crazy.


The article has a bit of an error when saying current offerings all require PCs. Some of the big companies in Ag have serious websites that do not require PCs that help track finances, crops, fields, and even let farmers sign contracts on the web.


It might just be some poor editing, I think they are talking about the leading large farm software, which I believe is this: http://www.fbssystems.com/ - written in VB.net and Windows based.


I'm more inclined to think its poor research and I will bet that the reporter did not try to contact the big ag companies to find out about competing offerings.


Congrats Jesse, Brad, and team!


It seems a bit like you're doing to farming what PetroFeed is doing to Oil & Gas. Great work!


Wow, huuuuge congrats to FarmLogs! This should be a very exciting year for you guys!


Congrats to Jesse and Brad and the rest of FarmLogs!


Congrats Jesse and team! Great group of guys.


Big congrats, guys! :)


Congrats, Jessie! :)




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