Farmers Business Network announces $40 million funding and plans for expansion
SAN CARLOS, Calif. — Farmers Business Network, Inc., the farmer-to-farmer network and a mission-driven business, today announced a $40 million Series C round, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) and DBL Partners, with additional participation from new investor Bow Capital and returning investors Acre Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).
The investment will be used to further expand the FBNSM network, analytics offerings and the FBN Direct farm-commerce platform. The Series C brings the company’s total funding to nearly $88 million.
The FBN network’s mission is to make a positive social impact in rural America as an independent and unbiased platform that uses cutting edge technology to make a better farm economy for farmers and consumers alike. The FBN network allows farmers to anonymously share data about everything from seed performance to chemical pricing, harnessing the power of data science to help farmers make more informed decisions. The FBN Direct farm-commerce platform works with manufacturers to deliver substantially reduced input prices to members. Inspired by research that found different farmers were paying up to 300 percent more for the same input products, FBN Direct’s transparent pricing system has helped farmers realize savings of up to 50 percent on critical inputs.
“Today, we’re doubling down on our mission to empower farmers to increase profits through data-driven decisions and radically different business models,” said Farmers Business Network, Inc. CEO and co-founder Amol Deshpande. “Farmers of the future will use technology to level the playing field with their trading partners in big ag.”
“The rising input costs and dips in commodity prices are making it harder than ever to start and maintain a farm,” said Andy Wheeler, general partner at GV. “By providing access to critical data about what’s working for other farmers and how much they’re paying for different inputs, the FBN network is driving the next wave of yield increases in agriculture for farmers.”
“Cutting costs is the name of the game in farming right now,” said Todd Eney, a farmer in Cut Bank, Montana. “We started off using Farmers Business NetworkSM for the data analytics and have since expanded to buying directly with FBN Direct and Price Transparency. All the FBN tools allow us to increase profits, save time and save money, making it a no-brainer.”
In the two years since its commercial launch, Farmers Business Network, Inc. has achieved several notable milestones:
- The network’s members now collectively span nearly 13 million acres of farmland.
- FBN Direct now covers more than 500 farm chemicals, fertilizers, seeds and seed treatments, and made more than 1,000 deliveries in its first year of operation.
- In 2016, FBN analytics launched Price Transparency for chemicals and seeds, with more than 25,000 input invoices added since then by members, who have used the tool to save tens of thousands of dollars on purchases.
- To help its members capture more value for their crops, the company has developed data-driven crop marketing services and is connecting growers directly with a global buyer network.
“We want to improve farmers’ bottom lines in the short term and fundamentally alter the foundation of farming itself — for the better — for the long term,” said Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner at DBL Partners.