The Yield founder and Women’s Agenda Leadership Award winner Ros Harvey, has just secured a massive $11 million investment for the AgTech business.
The Yield is an Australian B2B AgTech business that provides cloud-based AI tools and services to transform food and farming for businesses and farmers around the world. Harvey founded the company in late 2014, using data science and AI to anticipate micro-climates to support critical production decisions for large commercial growers in the specialty crops industry.
In the last 6 years, Harvey’s company has raised $21 million in external funding, and last week, it secured another AUD$11 million from investors Yamaha Motor Ventures and major shareholder, The Bosch Group. This latest addition brings the German company’s total investment figures up to a total of AUD$13.3 million. Other investors of the company include KPMG and Agfunder.
The Yield features in this month’s edition of HortInsights. Written by the Australian Institute of Horticulture, the publication features the Costa Group’s roll out of The Yield’s Sensing+ microclimate solution. https://t.co/CyKp3qqfmA #agtech #agritech #AI pic.twitter.com/DXxlRGZukk— The Yield Technology Solutions (@theyield) May 4, 2020
These latest funds were secured by venture capital group Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (“Yamaha Motor Ventures”), a branch of the Yamaha company that specialises in robotics and speciality crops.
“I am delighted with the investment and the tremendous support from these well-known, global technology organisations,” Harvey said in a statement. “This is recognition of our efforts in delivering a world-class solution in weather and yield predictions for our customers. Technology is critical in delivering security, particularly in light of current disrupted food supply chains.”
Before her role as founder and manager director of The Yield, Harvey spent decades leading prominent international organisations. She was appointed as Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation in early 2019, Co-founder and Non-Executive Director of Food Agility CRC, Co-founder of Knowledge Economy Institute, and Director of Better Factories Cambodia.
Harvey was named the Emerging Leader in Technology at the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards in 2018.
Gavin Smith, President of Bosch Oceania, believes the partnership will bring a promising future for the young company.
“Bosch’s further investment in The Yield reflects our confidence that they have something quite unique, and are now gaining serious traction with corporate customers,” he said in a statement. “We are very pleased that Yamaha Motor Ventures recognise this too, and have joined us on the share register of The Yield.”
Last week, Harvey was interviewed on ausbiz TV’s The Pulse, where she explained the importance of securing the latest funds and how it will be leveraged to scale the company internationally.
“We’re focusing on product which is critical, including our data science capability,” Harvey said. “We’re building mathematical robots that allow us to scale this AI quickly. In the sales perspective, in the current Covid-19 environment, what we’re doing is looking at how we can work with most of our customers, and most of them are in fact multi-national. They are global businesses. They have a presence in Australia. We can work with them deeply here, and then scale globally in partnership.”
She noted that Australia is an excellent place to be involved in innovation in food and agriculture, due to our particular environment and the innovative businesses that already exist here.
“Most of our customers have international relationships and growing. One of the key ways to grow and diversify risk is by growing in different production environments. This is especially important in agriculture which is subject to the vagaries of weather.”
The Bosch Group is the technology partner behind The Yield’s proprietary solution technology Sensing+ which combines sensors and analytics to provide information and predictions on apps that help large commercial growers make on-farm decisions including questions regarding when to irrigate, feed, plant, protect and harvest.
Harvey explained that the Sensing+ microclimate solution helps customers to work mostly remotely in managing the needs of their crops and in managing labour requirements.
“Additionally, by leveraging customer data sets, our Sensing+ Enterprise Analytics platform quickly combines data to create AI models for things like yield predictions, that drive significant commercial benefit for customers.”
Harvey believes The Yield’s technologies are directly helping to address the challenges that Covid-19 are presenting in the food industry.
“Typically, we can assist with questions regarding, for example, how do people access labour, access to market, how do businesses distribute assets remotely? Our technology helps solve those problems,” she told The Pulse.
In the next 18 months, Harvey wants to strengthen the company’s balance sheet “so that when we get a clearer idea about post-COVID market, we can be in a very strong position to see how we can sequence both our product and go to market strategy best take advantage of the environment.”