- By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media
Continental Grain Company Leads $19.5M Series B for Grain Industry Tech Startup Bushel
Bushel, an independently owned software and software technology solutions provider for grain growers, buyers, protein producers, and food companies, has secured $19.5 million through a Series B led by Continental Grain Company. This influx of capital brings Bushel’s total funding to-date to more than $28 million since 2015.
Additional investors that participated in the round include Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Germin8 Ventures, and a collective of previous investors.
Co-founded by North Dakota State University graduates Jake Joraanstad and Ryan Raguse in Fargo, North Dakota, in 2017, Bushel is working to use digital infrastructure to connect and enhance the grain industry, with the understanding that the industry is “bigger than farmers”. The company cites infrastructure as being the greatest advancement touching the grain industry in the last century, but it also notes that digital infrastructure has not kept pace, and lacks standardization.
From an agnostic and independent position, Bushel believes that better communication can result in greater efficiencies. Toward this end, Bushel provides real-time account information directly to growers through integration into a grain elevator’s accounting system and market feed. Then, through elevator-branded apps, Bushels provides real-time scale tickets, contracts, commodity balances, futures, pre-paids, cash bids, settlements, and e-sign and contract management capabilities. The company also offers websites and market feeds, and an agriculture-focused custom software division.
“We’re excited to have this group of incredible investors support us in our efforts to build software that strengthens relationships between consumers, grain buyers and producers,” said Jake Joraanstad, Bushel co-founder and CEO.
Since its launch, Bushel has grown to serve more than 1,200 grain receiving locations in the U.S. and Canada, and engages with 20,000 producers, accounting for 15 percent of U.S. grain volume, per month through its apps.
With this funding, the company plans to build upon its early grain industry technology successes by accelerating the development of additional products that will improve profitability and market access for all sized growers.
The company is also aiming to raise efficiency and provide insights for financial services and farm management companies along the value chain by linking in-season production data and sustainable practices with downstream traceability, and the ability to directly source local grains and crops.
“Our independent and nimble approach in this market continues to resonate with our customers,” said Joraanstad. “This funding will help accelerate our product offerings for grain buyers, the producers they do business with and the entire agriculture supply chain.”
Bringing digital infrastructure to bear on the grain supply chain has recently become a goal of not only startups like Bushel, but among the world’s leading grain traders as well.
Two announcements were made last fall within days of each other, when in the last days of October, ADM, Bunge, Cargill, and Louis Dreyfus, the four global behemoth agribusinesses known as the A-B-C-D’s, announced they were partnering to pursue ways to use technology to digitize and standardize the global agricultural commodity value chain.
Understanding that the integration of technologies such as AI and blockchain will provide opportunities to increase transparency and efficiency for customers while also reducing resource and time-intensive processes for suppliers, the companies stated they were also seeking broad-based industry participation in support of global access and adoption.
The following week, ADM and Cargill announced the launch of Grainbridge, a joint venture technology platform providing grain market decision support and e-commerce and account management software for farmers in North America.
One of the initial tools made available through Grainbridge is a dashboard that allows farmers secure access to their contracts, scale tickets, and payment information for transactions conducted with both ADM and Cargill - giving farmers insight into their current grain position as well as real-time opportunities.
Following the dashboard, a second feature will allow farmers to execute grain transactions on their own schedule. Using automated intelligence, the platform will track changing break-even levels based on the current crop conditions, illustrate margin price targets, total current grain and risk management positions, revenue at risk, and provide access to benchmark and historical insights.