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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

TeleSense Raises $10.2M to Digitize Global Grain Supply Chains

Finistere has returned to lead a $10.2 million Series B for TeleSense, an IoT pioneer using AI to modernize grain supply chains, improve food safety, and develop advanced grain storage solutions.

Additional participants in the round include a mix of new investors and global leaders - Fulcrum Global Capital, Artesian, and Mindset Ventures, as well as Rabobank’s Food & Agri Innovation Fund.

The company has also announced a pair of high-profile additions to its board of directors that includes Soren Wolck Schroder, former CEO of Bunge, and Mark Palmquist, CEO of United Malt, and former CEO of GrainCorp.

It was in August 2018 when Finistere led a $6.5 million Series A for TeleSense in the company of Congruent Ventures, Maersk Growth, Rabobank’s Food & Ari Innovation Fund, Radicle Growth, Trailhead Capital, and existing investor Plug and Play Ventures.

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, in 2018 when Finistere led the company’s Series A. “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.”

Today, Maughan notes how the global COVID pandemic has shined a light on the weak points of our global supply chains, and how these breakdowns have driven an acceleration of the integration of technology to provide solutions.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the inefficiencies of our global food supply chain and accelerated the digitizing of it,” noted Maughan.

“Having led both the Series A and Series B investments, we believe strongly that TeleSense is a prime visionary in redefining how grain is stored, handled and traded. Ultimately, TeleSense is creating a digital global grain supply chain that uses data to combat grain spoilage – making the supply chain more sustainable and saving companies billions of dollars in lost grain along the way.”

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and with offices in Europe and Australia, TeleSense employs easy-to-use sensors and an app that works together to continuously monitor grain quality, automatically alerting users to any issues that could lead to grain degradation, spoilage, or infestation. Its machine learning algorithms generate smart alerts that enable users to effectively manage and predict grain quality, eliminate human error, ensure safety, improve efficiency, and increase profitability.

TeleSense’s platform is also able to retrofit traditional temperature cable systems to fully integrate them with the company’s wireless software system, thus making it accessible and scalable to the demands found in both developed and developing economies.

This novel ability to integrate data from outside sources also makes the TeleSense platform ideally positioned to benefit from acquisition-driven growth, such as it did last year when it expanded its reach in the EU through the acquisition of Webstech, a Danish wireless sensor company with a robust EU customer base.

“Having spent more than 30 years in the grain industry, I am very impressed by TeleSense's use of smart analytics and prescriptive actions to not only preserve quality, but also to optimize merchandising decisions for maximum profitability,” commented Schroder.

“Like with any business, success in the grain industry is all about what you know, when you know it, and how to take action on that knowledge. TeleSense enables higher quality decision making at a very competitive price.”

Naeem Zafar, co-founder and CEO of TeleSense, added, “The complexities of the food supply chain continue to evolve, and the grain industry needs to keep pace. The ability to know real-time storage conditions, accurately predict future grain quality and optimize merchandising timing delivers higher profits.” Zafer continued, “We are dedicated to bringing the power of data to the grain industry and helping grain growers and handlers improve their financial outcomes. We’re excited to work with our investors to build on our successes with grain majors and make TeleSense products the standard for the global grain industry.”

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