Fredericton, New Brunswick AgTech company Resson has closed an US$11million Series B round, led by Monsanto Growth Ventures, the venture capital arm of global AgTech company Monsanto, with participation from Build Ventures, Rho Canada Ventures, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, BDC Capital, East Valley Ventures, and McCain Foods Limited which aside from participating in the fundraising round will also be acting as strategic advisor to Resson.
The funding will allow Resson to expand its product development and sales and marketing efforts, and also to open a business office in San Jose, California, while maintaining its head office in Fredericton and expanding its technical development team there.
“Monsanto is one of the world’s top agriculture companies and its support will help us continue to develop a product that helps large and small farms improve crop production,” said Jeff Grammer, partner at Rho Canada Ventures and now Resson Executive Chairman.
Peter Goggin, until recently Resson’s CEO, will become VP of Operations.
Resson’s infrared and software technology can be attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone to assess and predict crop yield, disease, and moisture.
Precision agriculture is currently a $1.5 billion market and expected to grow 148% by 2017.
McCain Foods was Resson’s first customer.
“We have worked with Resson from the earliest days of the company and have seen the tremendous potential to improve our operations by using their predictive analytics technology,” said McCain President and CEO Dirk Van de Put. “We continue to work with Resson towards the implementation of their breakthrough technology and are excited by the prospects it brings to the community of potato professionals.”
Maritime-based McCain Foods has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of frozen french fries and potato specialties since its founding in 1957, employing more than 17,000 people 42 sites across six continents, working with 3,200 farmers who produce 6.5 million tonnes of potatoes each year, for global sales of C$7.6 billion.
“McCain has deep roots in New Brunswick and we have a long history of partnering with local businesses, including Fiddlehead Technology in Moncton, and the non-profit organization Enactus Canada to create social businesses in the region,” added Van de Put. “In addition, we are committed to strengthening economic activity in the Florenceville area which was evidenced in 2015 when we announced our partnership with IBM to establish a technology service centre there to serve McCain and a number of other Canadian companies.”
Resson’s Agricultural Management and Analytics System (RAMAS) provides agricultural producers with a complete view of crop production and field conditions through the integration of large-scale cloud-based data analytics, sensors and robotics.
“Having one of the largest names in the global agriculture business back our vision for Resson is a clear indication that the company is on the right track in this multi-trillion dollar industry,” said Grammer. “With this investment and the hands-on support from agriculture partners focused on data solutions, we are well positioned for future success.”
Resson launched in 2013, after raising a C$3 million seed round led by Rho Canada and Build Ventures.
It was co-founded by two University of New Brunswick students, CEO Peter Goggin and president and chief technology officer Rishin Behl, and remains headquartered in a National Research Council building on the UNB campus, employing 15 people.
Resson, which booked US$1 million in 2015 revenue in 2015, hopes to double the size of its work force and similarly multiply its revenues in the near future.