Sentera, an agricultural data firm based in Richfield, has raised $25 million in venture capital and will move to larger quarters in St. Paul in August.
The company's latest infusion of venture capital was led by Canada's Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Chicago-based S2G Ventures, which also invested in Sentera's inaugural VC round of $16.5 million in 2018.
All told, Sentera has raised about $50 million in venture capital and equity from individual investors since 2015.
"We've been successful in developing innovative solutions that complement and enhance the most commonly used agriculture platforms," said CEO Eric Taipale of Sentera. "This investment gives us the ability to increase our development velocity and broaden our industry partnerships, further improving the outcomes [for] our customers."
Sentera's technology roots in its FieldAgent software platform that integrates data from satellites, agricultural equipment, weather, the soil, drone sensors and field observations.
Data products are processed through artificial intelligence to provide insights that help farmers make decisions on fertilizer and water as crops grow.
"More than half our revenue comes from software," said Taipale, 49, an electrical engineer who started out designing drones for a military contractor.
"The high-resolution [drone] imagery is still important," he added. "But we pull in data from tractors to satellite imagery and other sources to provide integrated insights. There's value in passively looking at all the data. That has pushed us to be known as a software company."
Sentera expects revenue to grow more than 40% this year and approach $12 million. The company, which largely has been in an invest-and-grow mode, expects to turn an operating profit by 2023.
And Taipale said he doesn't have pressure from his investors to sell the company to a large strategic buyer or otherwise.
"There is more opportunity for Sentera to exist as a profitable, rapidly growing business now than I would have said two years ago," Taipale said. "We've gotten far enough to stand on our own with a value proposition for long-term investors that's pretty substantial. I couldn't say that two years ago."
The company has business relationships with some of the biggest names in agribusiness, including Land O'Lakes, CHS, Growmark, Bayer Crop Science and beer giant Anheuser-Busch. "We do the digital reporting for their annual sustainability report," Taipale said.
Sanjeev Krishnan, chief investment officer of S2G Ventures, said in a statement: "We're excited by the value that Sentera has been able to bring to the market."
Sentera is moving to the Midway district in St. Paul, Taipale said, because its young workforce wanted a more central location and to be on the light rail line between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.