Israeli AI-powered agri-tech company SeeTree has raised $30 million in a series B financing round led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group. The investment will enable SeeTree, which provides end-to-end services that offer growers intelligence on trees and tree clusters, to expand globally, grow the R&D and customer-facing teams, and extend services to cover new crops.
Other investors include orange juice producer Citrosuco, VC fund Orbia Ventures and Japanese tractor manufacturer Kubota. Existing investor Hanaco Ventures who led the Series A round, is also participating.
SeeTree cofounder and CEO Israel Talpaz said, "All of our new investors are true partners who believe in the power of our platform to increase productivity and help address the impact of the climate and other major challenges in agricultural production today and going forward to the future."
The connection between SeeTree and IFC was made back in 2018 by Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organization working to promote Israeli innovation, connecting business, government, and NGO leaders from around the world to Israeli innovation that can help them answer their most pressing needs.
"Artificial intelligence can revolutionize agriculture and have a transformative impact on productivity, the environment, and the livelihoods of farmers," said Stephanie von Friedeburg, interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, of IFC. "We are excited to invest in SeeTree´s technology and help leverage precision agriculture in emerging markets."
With operations in Brazil, the US, Chile and South Africa and a team of 120 professionals, SeeTree monitors over fifty million trees around the world, which will grow to 1 billion trees by 2023.
Talpaz added, "We started with citrus and are servicing the largest citrus growers globally. We have a strong playbook and will continue scaling within citrus. We are now equally focused on growing our offerings into new crops such as almonds, olives, and hazelnuts, where we are already deployed and supporting farmers."
SeeTree’s system identifies the health and growth rates of every tree in a farmer’s grove and enables the creation of personalized cultivation plans for each tree or cluster of trees. SeeTree collects ultra-high-resolution images captured by drones and multi-spectral sensors, tree and soil samples and analyzes the data through the platform’s machine-learning algorithms. Ultimately farmers receive an easy-to-use product with features such as tree health, pest, and disease tracking.
Our vision is to enable the ‘Tree-Farming 4.0 Revolution’ with the Intelligence-per-Tree that we provide. SeeTree as a standalone solution can reduce operational expenses by 20-40%. By connecting SeeTree to tractors, irrigation systems we can unlock additional optimizations to further increase the value to our farmers," says Talpaz.
"This is a substantial step forward for Israel’s Agtech sector, working with key players focused on sustainable development such as IFC, unlocking the vast potential we see in emerging markets for these technologies in a way that is financially viable with substantial impact on global agriculture" says Daniela Kandel, Senior Director at Start-Up Nation Central (SNC). "That is why we have been working to expose IFC and others to the value Israeli technology can bring to the development context and are proud that a connection that happened over two years ago has reached fruition. But this is only the beginning, Israel has much to offer in this space, from solutions to smallholder farmers to large scale optimization of agriculture leveraging high value technologies for sustainability."
Shai Albaranes, VP Innovation and Ventures at Orbia said, "This investment represents both Orbia's and Netafim's desireto expand its investments in the field of innovation and technology. As strategic investors, we see the integration of technology in Netafim's global operations as a market leader. Joining Netafim and Orbia provides start-ups with access tointernational markets more easily, with the support and assistance of a leading global company."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 8, 2020
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