Australian start-up independent software vendor (ISV), The Yield, has sealed a successful Series A funding round of $6.5 million, with strategic corporate investors, KPMG Australia, Bosch and Agfunder.
The latest funding round takes total investment of $11.5 million and the money will be used to bring The Yield’s microclimate sensing system to market in agriculture, accelerate new product development and assist in the continual co-design of solutions with growers.
The investment will also grow sale and marketing capabilities locally and in parallel, will create a launchpad for the Microsoft partner into international markets such as the west coast of the United States.
The Yield was recently recognised as one of the five most innovative Pre-Series A startups in the world, according to KPMG.
The company works with leading food growers to develop Internet of Things (IoT) and data-based solutions - built on the Azure cloud - that improve farm decision-making and customer yields.
Agricultural technology – known as agtech for short - has gradually become a lucrative vertical for start-ups. During the past few years since founding in 2014, the young and accelerating business has been rapidly revolutionising the local agricultural landscape, garnering worldwide attention in the process.
“Australia is the perfect breeding ground for Agtech innovation, because our conditions are so tough,” said the company’s founder and managing director, Ros Harvey.
“Growers are innovative because they need to be. Helping them to solve real problems, while creating reliable and accurate technology they can use day in, day out, is essential. We also need to deliver these solutions at scale, which means bringing in the right strategic investors.”
“We know have some of the world’s best engineers from Bosch working on our microclimate system, we have KPMG’s deep industry insights and commercial expertise, and AgFunder’s global community helping us bring solutions to growers in Australia and beyond,” she added.
KPMG said it joined the funding round to extend its investment in agricultural technology, recognising its importance for Australia’s future economic prosperity.
Last month, KPMG became an investor and a lead partner of the newly formed $212 million Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which is focused on fast-tracking the growth of Australia’s food industry through digital technologies.
“The Yield is without doubt the most exciting Australian IoT start up in the food and fibre sector,” said KPMG national IoT practice leader, Piers-Hogarth-Scott.
“Not only does their IoT platform help producers such as oyster farmers remove uncertainty and increase yield, but it is also enabling innovation in sectors such as financial services where we are beginning to see banks and insurers design credit and risk products specifically for the customers of IoT platforms.”
“This is exactly the sort of innovation that will help Australia unlock up to $116 billion annually in potential IoT related economic activity by 2025.”
Similarly, KPMG head of agtech, Ben van Delden, said the system integrator’s investment was “not passive”.
“KPMG has formed a strategic relationship with The Yield to make a real difference to enhancing food growers’ profitability and competitiveness,” he explained.
“Our agribusiness clients are wanting digital solutions to optimise their farm decision-making and improve productivity and profitability."
"The combination of The Yield’s technology platform with KPMG’s business performance optimisation and digital consulting services presents clients with the ideal combination of practical tools and insights to transform how they make vital yield enhancing decisions,” he said.