Investor That Backed Uber And Airbnb Invests In New York And Nairobi-Based Agri-Tech Company

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: October 25, 2017, 5:06 am
agri-tech company - Investor That Backed Uber And Airbnb Invests In New York and Nairobi-based Agri-Tech Company. Photo: africarenewalInvestor That Backed Uber And Airbnb Invests In New York and Nairobi-based Agri-Tech Company. Photo: africarenewal

New York and Nairobi-based agri-tech company, Gro Intelligence, has secured funding from alternative asset firm TPG’s middle market and growth equity platform, TPG Growth.

The agricultural analytics business announced Series A-2 financing led by TPG Growth, alongside Data Collective and unnamed strategic family offices, according to a Gro Intelligence press release.

With global investment in food and agribusiness growing fast, demand for insightful, reliable data on the sector has never been greater, and this is where Gro Intelligence comes in.

Data from Gro Intelligence is used by investment professionals, major corporations, governments and international organizations around the world, thanks to the agri-tech firm’s sophisticated search and predictive analytics products that are focused on the sector.

The company uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide current and future insights into the global food and agriculture industry.

By collecting and synthesizing hundreds of trillions of data points from disparate and often previously unavailable sources, Gro Intelligence provides users with unique, comprehensive, and real-time support for mission critical decision-making and operations, the company reveals.

TPG Growth backing agri-tech company

TPG Growth has a track record for supporting disruptive tech companies that have gone on to achieve success in various sectors.

Their current and past investments include the likes of AirbnbSurveyMonkey, and Uber, with TPG Growth operating offices in China, India, London, Singapore, Turkey, and the U.S, according to PEHub.

With more than $8.3 billion of assets under management, TPG Growth targets investments in a broad range of industries, including tech and media. The firm is backed by the resources of TPG, which has more than $73 billion of assets under management, the Gro Intelligence press release reveals.

Yemi Lalude, managing partner at TPG Africa, explained the natural connection between Gro Intelligence and the growth equity investment platform.

“TPG Growth has a track record around the world of identifying and building disruptive, market-leading companies,” said Lalude, in the press release.

“Gro Intelligence is transforming how data is used across the agricultural sector and is a natural partner for TPG Growth, given our experience with companies specializing in data, analytics and machine learning. This deal highlights the rich opportunities that exist to invest in early-stage technology companies that have a presence in Africa but can also operate successfully on a global level.”

TPG Growth’s investment was sourced through its strategic relationship with Nigeria-based EchoVC, the seed and early-stage venture capital fund that targets the technology sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

A need for big data in agriculture

Over the next 10 years, the world needs to produce an estimated 214 trillion additional calories to feed a total population of 8.3 billion, and agri-tech companies such as Gro Intelligence, with a focus on big data, will become increasingly valuable.

Earlier this year the London Stock Exchange Group, in partnership with Africa Development Bank Group, CDC Group and PwC, named Gro Intelligence one of Africa’s most inspiring tech enterprises, according to LSE.

The big data company not only deals with the analytics needs of various agricultural stakeholders, but aims to safeguard and support the jobs of many millions of Africans through better data, with 65 percent of the continent’s workforce involved in agriculture, according to Fastcompany.

Gro Intelligence CEO Sara Menker, a former Wall Street trader originally from Ethiopia, set out the company’s aim to become a leader within the global agricultural industry.

“Gro Intelligence is reimagining how data can be used in global agriculture,” said Menker, according to the Gro press release.

“Agricultural data is complex and messy, historically requiring teams of analysts and huge amounts of time to sort and process. Our product solves this problem and simultaneously opens up a level of analysis previously unavailable to entire sections of the agriculture supply chain,” she said.

“Gro offers unparalleled insights and predictive analytics for our customers. We want to be a leader in the $5 trillion global agricultural industry,” she added.

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