Google Inc.’s venture-capital arm, dipping its toes into an emerging agricultural sector, is investing in a computerised farming network that crunches data on seeds and soil to help farmers grow more crops and save money.
Farmers Business Network Inc. closed a $15 million funding round led by Google Ventures, which the startup intends to use to expand its field-analysis service into more states and crops.
“Data is a tool for driving the next wave of productivity gains in the [agriculture] space,” said Andy Wheeler, general partner at Google Ventures, who will join Farmers Business Network’s board. “We’re at the beginning stages of harnessing that data.”
Google and other investors, including venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an earlier investor in Farmers Business Network, are backing the company in a fast-growing field that links Silicon Valley computing power with the increasingly high-tech seeds and equipment that have spread across the US Farm Belt.