Conservis Corp. received $10 million in venture capital funding that will let it expand its cloud-based farm management tools, company officials said Monday. As part of the deal, former Monsanto CEO Robert Shapiro will join Conservis' board of directors.
Minneapolis-based Conservis caters to large, family-owned farms and ranches in 26 states. Its cellphone and computer software helps farms manage planting and harvest records.
With the new funds, Conservis will nearly double its staff of 26, attract more customers and create more software and data-tracking products, Conservis CEO Patrick Christie said Monday.
Current products help farmers track grain weight, carts, schedules, deliveries, billings and payments in real time.
The new capital arrived just when needed, said Christie, who quipped that "kidney stones may be more fun" than trying to raise money.
Over the past five years, Conservis raised $5.5 million from angel investors. "So this [new $10 million] is a significant round because now this really is about [building] scale," Christie said.
The new financing round comes from Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures and from prior investors Middleland Capital and Heartland Farms.
Shapiro is the co-founder of Sandbox Industries. Sandbox partnered with Cultivian last year to form a fund called Cultivian Sandbox Ventures that is focused on agricultural and food safety technologies.
Shapiro will join the Conservis board along with Christie and Heartland Farms CEO Richard Pavelski.