A startup based in Volos, Greece that gives agricultural products monitoring in real time announced a $1.3 million seed round led by Jerusalem-based equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd through its OurCrowd First fund. The round also includes investments from the Greece’s Piraeus Jeremie Technology Catalyst Fund as well as angel investor Avi Reichental.
The amount raised is decent for any seed round, but huge for Greece’s much smaller startup community. According to the statement released to the press, the funds give the company the final push in getting its wireless sensors to market.
“We are thrilled to have a consortium of renowned funds and angels participating in our seed financing round,” said Centaur Analytics CEO Dr. Sotiris Bantas in a press release. “Their support validates our progress to date and provides us with the required financial strength to commercialize our proprietary sensors and cognitive systems for post-harvest crops monitoring and protection, even faster.”
“We are resolute in our mission to harness exponential technologies in reducing post-harvest waste across the supply-chain from farm to shelf.”
The agricultural sensor market is growing and fast. Markets and Markets already estimated five years ago the global industry would be worth $3 billion by 2016. The competition among startups in the sensors market is huge: Agrilyst, CropX (seriously), Edyn, AquaSpy, Flux, Grownetics, Monford Ag Systems, Farmobile, Semios, MimosaTEK and Amber Agriculture are just some of the emerging players. A drone-based sensor company, Slantrange, raised $5 million in Series A back in April.
Sensors have major competition from aerial and space-based monitoring systems. The big startup name here to watch is Planetary Resources, which scored a $21.1 million Series A funding round earlier this year, who is using Earth observation as a business catalyst to eventually launch mining missions on asteroids.
OurCrowd First is a mainly Israel-focused seed-stage fund, but clearly they are looking for opportunities worldwide. They currently have 13 portfolio companies and boast having capital from the likes of Khosla Ventures and Softbank. One of those companies is Taranis, another AgTech asset that focuses on crop loss management and analytics.
Yori Nelken, General Partner at OurCrowd First who now joins the board, added in a statement, “The protocols and storage principles for maintaining quality of stored agriproducts have not changed much over the last 150 years, which is quite remarkable given 21st century food safety advances and concerns for a growing world population,”
Centaur Analytics was founded by CEO Dr. Sotiris Bantas, CCO Vasilis “Billy” Sotiroudas and Diogenis Devletoglou. They list Avi Reichental as a founder as well.