French LoRa/Sigfox ag-tech startup Sencrop bags $18m to conquer the US
France-based precision agriculture startup Sencrop has raised $18 million in Series B funding, led by Israeli venture capital firm JVP. Sencrop, founded in 2016, headquartered in Lille, claims to be Europe’s leading provider of “field-connected solutions”, with 20,000 farmers in 20 countries, mainly in Europe, using its IoT products to monitor weather conditions, crop disease, pest risks, and irrigation requirements.
Sencrop also has offices in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. The new JVP investment, from its climate and food tech funding reserves, is part of an “international cooperation” between the governments of Israel and France around new digital tech, and specifically IoT sensing and AI sense-making to drive economic gain and climate change. The French government’s investment arm, BPIfrance, already a shareholder, has played a key role.
BPIfrance has helped to drive the investment round, and also to stump-up as an active partner in the funding. Support has also come from France-based venture firms Demeter IM and NCI Waterstart, as well as from the EU-funded, Belgium-based smart agriculture collective EIT Food. The new investment will go, in the first instance, to open an extension in the International Foodtech Center in Galilee, in northern Israel.
The money will also be invested in Sencrop’s expansion into new markets, notably North America. A statement declared: “This round will strengthen Sencrop’s leadership in its core markets, accelerate its international expansion towards North America, and consolidate its trajectory on its journey to becoming the world leader in ag-tech.” Sencrop IoT product is described as “like a personal Waze for the farmer’s weather conditions”.
It utilises Sigfox and LoRaWAN in its network deployments. A statement said: “Sencrop’s sensors and platform [deliver data about]… micro-climatic [conditions], water stress, plant growth, disease or pest development, and more… Farmers can optimize the use of inputs – for example, by spraying only if the weather [is] right or irrigating only if necessary. The app enables farmers to identify [risk and opportunities], and act accordingly.”
Erel Margalit, founder and executive chairman of JVP, said: “[This is] part of wider cooperation between BPIfrance [and] JVP…. President Macron has welcomed this… More such projects [will] follow… [Sencrop can]… revolutionize the farmer’s world. Using AI… farmers can maximize crop quality in a short time. Our… vision [is] to invest in companies that provide ground-breaking solutions to the world’s most critical challenges. We are happy to… support [Sencrop] to bring its ground-breaking micro-climate technology to North America and the rest of the world.”
Martin Ducroquet, co-founder and general manager at Sencrop, said: “Sencrop’s mission is to democratize precision farming and reduce crop risks for farmers. We have developed a unique microclimate technology which allows more than 20,000 professionals – farmers, winegrowers, fruit growers – to access ultra-precise and ultra-local information for better monitoring of their crops and the risks to their plots. The [new funding]… opens up new prospects for international acceleration that will be supported by new impact investors, specializing in climate-tech.”
Michael Bruniaux, co-founder and chief executive at Sencrop, said: “Sencrop’s microclimate technology is now used on a daily basis by a large community of farmers in more than 20 countries… The reasons for this strong adoption lie in the simple, collaborative, and impactful nature of our solution. As agricultural input prices are rising and weather is becoming even more unstable and critical, Sencrop enables farmers to make the best decisions everyday to reduce crop risks and limit environmental impact, while increasing their profitability.”