Move over, Monsanto: Ag-tech startup Indigo raises another $250m to grow farming’s future

Ag-tech startup Indigo raised $250m to expand its grain marketplace and challenge Big Ag’s big players.

September 19, 2018

Yesterday, Indigo Agriculture, an ag-tech startup, announced it closed a $250m fundraising round at a $3.5B valuation. The company sells microbe-coated seeds that increase yields 15% — and recently sprouted a 2nd product, Indigo Marketplace

With  $6B of grain listed already, Indigo’s marketplace is growing faster than a dandelion on pesticides — proving ag startups can hang with big dog Monsanto.

Cultivating trust to cultivate wheat

To win over the change-resistant farming industry, Indigo offered farmers seeds for 7 major crops for free, charging after the seeds produced. Indigo quickly won contracts with thousands of farmers across 1m acres.

But, Indigo realized its seeds weren’t living up to their full value: Outdated commodities markets were forcing producers to sell grain for a flat price — preventing farmers from differentiating themselves and buyers from finding great grains for foods.

So Indigo decided to make these farmers a new market

Indigo Marketplace allows grain-iacs to search for grains based on protein content, milling quality, or organic certification and buy directly — empowering farmers to earn more for their high-quality grains.

Since the marketplace launched in June, farmers have posted more than $6B worth of grain (and sold more than $2B). In the last year, Indigo increased sales 8x

In the past, 95% of ag-tech exits ended in acquisition (thanks to the dominance of Monsanto and other ag-giants). But with $609m in the bank and microbial ag investment on the rise, Indigo may actually get to reap the fruits of its own labor.

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