Israeli agricultural intelligence firm Taranis, a precision agriculture startup that allows farmers to monitor fields and make informed decisions, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $30 million in a Series C round.
The round was led by the growth stage VC Vertex Growth, Japanese mulinational Hitachi Group, and Asian conglomerate The Kuok Group, through its venture capital arm K3 Ventures.
Additional participants in the round include Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, iAngels, Gal Yarden, the president of the EMEA division at drip-irrigation company Netafim Ltd., and existing investors Vertex Ventures Israel, Viola Group, Finistere Ventures LLC, and equity crowdfunding company OurCrowd Ltd.
The round brings Taranis’ total funding raised to $60 million to date.
The main purpose of the round, according to Taranis co-founder and CEO Ofir Schlam, is to strengthen the company’s sales and marketing efforts. Schlam told Israeli financial daily Calcalist that the company started raising money at the end of February, with the most serious talks held in March in the height of the COVID-19 crisis. While the company “got a lot of offers from prominent investors,” according to Schlam, they eventually chose to stick with Vertex.
Founded in 2015, Taranis operates fleets of drones and low-flying aerial vehicles capable of capturing ultra-high-resolution imagery mid-flight. Taranis’ AI system analyzes these images and aggregates data from satellite images, sensors, and smart irrigation systems, to detect early signs of crop diseases, insect infestations, nutrient deficiencies, water damage, and other crop risk factors. The company says its system can cover an area of 400 dunams (400,000 square meters) in just six minutes.
Taranis employs 80 people worldwide, half of them in its research and development center in Tel Aviv.
In February, Taranis was one of 10 Israeli companies that were listed among two separate lists highlighting the top 50 companies worldwide in the food tech and agtech (agriculture tech) sectors in 2020, put together by SVG Ventures-THRIVE and published by Forbes.
“The agtech market will soon see consolidation around imagery with just a few strong players remaining. We firmly believe that Taranis will be leading the pack,” he added. “With Taranis’ support, growers, retailers, cooperatives, and crop consultants can detect, analyze, and treat crop issues at their earliest signs, taking preventive measures with unprecedented precision and gaining a higher degree of control over their crop yield than ever before,” said Hock Chuan Tam, managing director of Vertex Growth, said in a statement.