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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Finistere Leads $6.5M Series A for Food Safety and Grain Storage Tech Company TeleSense

IoT technology startup TeleSense has raised $6.5 million through a Series A for the advancement of supply chain, food safety, and grain storage solutions led by ag investment pioneer Finistere Ventures. Other investors in the round include Congruent Ventures, Maersk Growth, Rabobank’s Food & Ari Innovation Fund, Radicle Growth, and Trailhead Capital. Existing investor, Plug and Play Ventures, also was a participant.

Every year, $12 billion in grain is lost to spoilage in the developed world alone. And as technologies to counter this become more prevalent, it is becoming obvious that data will play a key role in not only the reduction of food waste but the guarantee of food safety.

“Spoilage is an age-old problem plaguing the food and grain industry, and we believe that the time is ripe for the confluence of new technologies to be applied to this problem,” said Spencer Maughan, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures. “TeleSense is the only company we’ve found that has the insight and all the necessary elements to effectively tackle this multi-billion dollar issue.”

TeleSense plans to use the capital secured through this round to apply its data-driven solutions to the agricultural supply chain with an initial focus on grain transportation and storage. To do this, TeleSense offers grain storage operators the first scalable data platform integrating a suite of powerful analytics products.

“Intelligent, data-driven decisions will help decrease the pressure of seasonal pricing fluctuations, global trade and tariff concerns, and currency issues,” stated TeleSense Co-Founder and CEO Naeem Zafar.

Using innovative portable and fixed wireless sensors to collect data, TeleSense provides customers with the ability to continuously monitor humidity levels and temperature, giving customers the ability to immediately address and mitigate grain damage or spoilage, and to reduce quality loss for increased profits.

“We want storage operators to have a clear view of the condition of all their stored grain, so potential issues can be detected and any negative business impact mitigated,” noted Zafar.

Furthermore, TeleSense’s suite of enterprise solutions enrich and advance the level of insight currently available to the grain industry.

“We invest in visionaries helping to create a more sustainable global food supply chain. TeleSense’s data-driven approach will help redefine expectations for how grain is stored, handled and traded in the years to come,” said Maughan.

With the Grain

This summer, grain has been the focus of more than one investment round or strategic partnership. After years of bumper crops and significantly lower commodity prices have caused farmers’ margins to disappear, the promise that digital ag platforms can provide farmers with higher returns per acre is an attractive offer, and one that larger multi-nationals are looking to capitalize upon.

In May of this year, Bushel, which provides a software platform that allows grain elevators, cooperatives, and ethanol plants to digitally connect with their growers for real-time information and payments, announced a $7 million private investment round. This funding followed an initial $1.5 million round raised by the company last June, which also was through private investors in the agriculture and software industries.

The following month, Farmers Business Network (FBN), — the company behind the independent farmer-to-farmer network built to connect farmers and allow for the sharing of data, insights, and information critical to agronomic decision making — and AgriSecure, a Nebraska-based turnkey organic platform, announced a strategic partnership designed to raise profitability for organic grain farmers.

Founded in Arlington, Nebraska, by fifth-generation farmers, AgriSecure partners with organic farmers giving them the tools needed to simplify the process and reduce the risks associated with transitioning from traditional to organic grain production, while increasing profitability. The platform includes end-to-end management of organic acreage, certification support, management on a whole-farm and field-level, agronomic advice, and data platform and marketing access by providing farmers with production expertise, technology systems, and on-farm support. And as part of the tie-in, FBN has made an undisclosed anchor investment in AgriSure in exchange for FBN’s farmer-members, which represent 24 million acres across the U.S. and Canada, being granted access to the AgriSure platform.

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