Ceres Imaging scores $2.5M to bring machine learning-powered insights to farmers

Lucas Matney
Agtech has largely seemed underserved by emerging startups, though farmers have largely proven more receptive to adopting new tech than most might assume.

Agtech has largely seemed underserved by emerging startups, though farmers have largely proven more receptive to adopting new tech than most might assume.

Ceres Imaging has a fairly straightforward pitch. Pay for a low-flying plane to snap shots of your farm with spectral cameras and proprietary sensors, and soon after get delivered insights that can help farmers determine water and nutrient content at a plant-level while also gaining insights into problems ailing their crops like pest and disease.

Today, the startup announced that it has raised $2.5 million on top of a $5 million Series A round it closed in May. The latest raise comes from Romulus Capital which led the startup's previous bout of funding.

Ceres Imaging CEO Ashwin Madgavkar founded the startup four years ago as a grad student at Stanford, where he saw a lot of cool applications for spectral cameras and wondered how they might help promote cleaner energy and more efficient resource usage.

The team started using spectral imaging cameras on high-intensity crops like vineyards and orchards, but the team is now diversifying as it brings its product to farms in California, Hawaii, the Midwest and Australia. The team has built solutions in their product line that learn about the crops and determines factors like water stress, chlorophyll content, canopy vigor, thermal analysis and plant counting and what the best ways to optimize are.

Madgavkar says that while other company's have approached imaging as a blanket solution, his team takes a very consultative approach to each new customer so that they can meet the needs of each crop, climate and farmer on an individual basis.

A big focus of the raise is on continuing to aggressively reach out to customers in the Midwest raising crops like soybeans and corn that aren't necessarily the most high-maintenance crops, but do rely heavily on farmers making smart decisions early-on.

The team has a lot on its plate already, but is also keen to further global expansion of their product as well with this new capital.

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