Australian agtech startup AgriWebb lands $23M Series B to digitize global livestock farming
As governments and organizations around the world look for new ways to combat climate change and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, many other companies are also looking at technology for efficient farm production. As of 2019, agriculture generates an estimated 25% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to data from the World Resources Institute (WRI). This number includes food production and the land-use changes associated with farming, such as clearing vegetation and plowing.
According to WRE, agriculture alone could produce enough emissions to surpass 1.5°C of global warming. To slow global warming and reduce the effect of climate change, The United Nations said we need to make changes in agriculture production. These changes could result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration.
One of the leading companies at the forefront of efficient farming production is Australia-based agtech startup, AgriWebb. With a focus on the livestock production industry, AgriWebb helps farmers digitize their business with a tool that drives efficiency through data-driven decision making via its cloud-based farm management software.
Today, AgriWebb announced it has closed US$23m (AU$30m) in its Series B funding round to accelerate growth in the UK and the Americas, as well as drive product expansion and international growth. The round, which valued the company at US$77m (AU$100m), was led by the venture arm of Canadian telecommunications provider TELUS, which recently launched TELUS Agriculture, a division to address food security by leveraging its technology expertise.
The round also includes the US$7.6b (AU$10b) Australian Government-backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) that join AgriWebb’s existing share registry which includes The Duke of Westminster’s AgTech investment fund, The Wheatsheaf Group, and private investors such as Founder of the of European meat processor, Dunbia.
AgriWebb also said it intends to invest in ground-breaking product features; including an unprecedented individual animal management platform, alongside tools to manage the carbon footprint of livestock production.
Founded in 2013 by John Fargher, Justin Webb, Kevin Baum, and Philip Chan, AgriWebb’s products enable simplified on-farm data collection and analysis to improve management efficiency, decision-making, benchmarking, and transparency while integrating through horizontal and vertical supply chains.
AgriWebb’s founders come from 5 generations of livestock production and aim to transform the livestock industry through data-driven decision-making built from intuitive on-farm data recording.
“TELUS is on a mission to help feed the world while improving the quality and safety of our food production,” says Francois Gratton, EVP, Group President & Chair TELUS Health and TELUS Agriculture. “By leveraging technology innovation and human compassion, we believe that we can help improve the sustainability of supply chains all over the world and that together, Agriwebb and TELUS can help to accelerate this evolution in the global beef industry.”
“In support of TELUS’ growing global leadership in agriculture technology, we continue to invest in companies with technologies like Agriwebb’s industry-leading digital livestock management tool to help their technology expand its international footprint” added Rich Osborn, Managing Partner, TELUS Ventures. “It is technologies like these that are positively transforming the food supply chain and we are excited to add Agriwebb and its exceptional leadership team to our portfolio of over 40 companies spanning seven countries.”
Following its inception six years ago by co-founders Justin Webb, Kevin Baum, and John Fargher, AgriWebb now manages over 14 million head of livestock across 100 million acres around the globe, including Australia and the UK. In Australia alone, over 15 percent of national cattle and sheep stock are managed on the AgriWebb platform.
The CEFC US$3.8m (AU$5m) investment, through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund and on behalf of the Australian Government, is designed to enable AgriWebb to further develop tools that track methane emissions from livestock as well as carbon sequestration levels in the soil. The Australian Government has identified soil carbon as a priority investment area in its Technology Investment Roadmap.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “AgriWebb information gives farmers a more detailed picture of the health of their herd and pastures, enabling them to allocate resources more efficiently and reduce carbon emissions. The data also provides a digital paper trail that makes it easier to target value-adding certifications such as carbon-neutral beef and to participate in carbon sequestration schemes.
“More efficient farm production is a win for farmers and the environment. Agriculture accounts for about 12 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and red meat production contributes significantly through digestive gases and the reduction in soil carbon from overgrazing. Improving soil carbon levels can help reduce atmospheric carbon, offering another pathway to decarbonize the agricultural sector.”
AgriWebb’s mission to ‘deliver the digital future of agriculture’ not only benefits individual farmers and their operations but also strengthens the predictability of the global food supply chain, ensuring adherence to the complex and changing world of biosecurity measures. Enabling robust traceability serves to help secure marketable premiums for national exports in trade negotiations. Data-driven provenance also facilitates individual producers with a competitive advantage and satisfies increasing consumer demand to know more about the origins of food.
“The validation of multinational and Government-backed institutional partners who are aligned with our vision is tremendously exciting for AgriWebb. We now look forward to executing on-going product development and expanding our existing operations in both Europe and the Americas. AgriWebb has become part of the daily fabric of operational decision-making for thousands of farming families and businesses across Australia and more recently in the UK and US. It is immensely rewarding to see consistent and sustainable year-on-year gains being realized on-ground which roll-up to paradigm shifts in aggregate industry output.” says Justin Webb, co-founder and executive chairman, AgriWebb.