| Feb. 12
Feb. 12 Crowd funding has found the farm.
AgFunder, an online platform for agriculture-related
companies to seek capital through a form of crowd-sourced
fundraising, said Wednesday it was launching its first campaign
by focusing on a California agricultural data company.
Through the online platform, Fresno, California-based OnFarm
is looking to raise $400,000 in capital to grow a farm data
software service, AgFunder said.
The offering is the first to go live on New York City-based
AgFunder, which started up late last year and is offering both
debt financing and equity offerings for individual and
institutional investors to play in the ag space, according to
Rob Leclerc, AgFunder co-founder and CEO.
The crowd-sourcing strategy got a boost from recent federal
legislation that eases securities regulations to encourage
funding of small businesses.
Leclerc said AgFunder has $1 billion in more than 70
different deals in the pipeline to match with investors who want
to gain equity in agricultural-related companies.
"It's an interesting challenge," he said.
Most of the deals, like OnFarm, are U.S.-based, but the
online site will also be offering up investments in Australia,
Canada and South America, said Leclerc, a former partner at
SeedRock Capital Group, a venture capital firm focused on
natural resources and agriculture.
Coming listings include a software company that uses
high-resolution satellite imagery to analyze crop growth
patterns to tailor water and fertilizer use, and a company that
has developed a natural barrier system for greenhouse pest
Institutional and individual investors have increasingly
been putting money into agriculture amid forecasts for a steep
rise in global population and higher demand for food.
And farmers and other agricultural players have been finding
they can raise money for expansion and other needs through a
variety of crowd funding platforms.