San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) November 19, 2015
Colorado-based SWIIM System has closed a $3 million Series A round led by Australian agricultural productivity investor goFARM Australia (‘goFARM’). SWIIM®, which stands for Sustainable Water and Innovative Irrigation Management®, completed the raise with the assistance of AgFunder, the online investment platform for accredited investors investing in agriculture and agriculture technology companies.
As the global population continues to climb and the current food system is called upon to increase its production, maximizing water efficiency and conservation will become even more important. SWIIM offers a comprehensive water management system for farmers. It enables them to get a complete picture of the water used by their crops, not just focusing on one specific aspect like irrigation efficiency or soil moisture. This broad approach enables farmers to be more efficient in their water use and to conserve it. It can even provide an extra source of revenue for farmers as they are able to document and lease conserved water back into the system.
“We’ve looked all over and can’t seem to find anyone else doing everything that we are doing,” says SWIIM CEO Kevin France. “SWIIM is a package that takes the agronomics side of the business -- the planning, cropping and related decision-making process -- and looks at it from a water resource management perspective. To do it any other way would be like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together with pieces missing,” says France.
With SWIIM’s software and proven process, farmers create specific crop plans for their land based on its unique characteristics and water resources. The software system has an internal database of information compiled from countless public resources and also enables farmers to input their own data to create a tailored profile for their acreage and how to optimize their water usage. Then, a farmer uses a modeling algorithm that was co-developed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine where water is best used, and where it can be conserved based upon input from the farmer. As part of this approach, SWIIM not only helps farmers conserve water, but also helps them monetize the conserved water. This is a key benefit: it provides an actual incentive for farmers to conserve.
Compatible with local water managers like municipalities, SWIIM’s monitoring system enables farmers to get credit for their conserved water and then lease it through the grid. Essentially, the software brings together all stakeholders to create not only a comprehensive product for a farm, but for a community.
SWIIM’s technology was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University, and Utah State University. It took this group of stakeholders five years of research and development to create this all-inclusive system.
Recently, SWIIM announced that it is working with Western Growers Association -- a leading producer-centric trade organization representing fresh produce industry companies in California, Arizona and Colorado -- to assist in piloting SWIIM in a handful of regions in California.
“Water is one of our most precious and finite resources. Australia, in response to water being a constant limiting resource, has been a global leader in water market reform and in developing systems and technology to optimize agricultural water use. In comparison, the United States is behind in their water management practices. SWIIM’s technology looks similar to our solution for Australia, so we immediately saw the enormity of the opportunity for it in the U.S. We believe this technology will bring the U.S. up the curve quickly,” says Liam Lenaghan, Managing Director at goFARM. "This is a fantastic opportunity for farmers, water users and the environment; it is a win-win-win solution and we are excited to be part of it."
“As a productivity investor, goFARM's focus is on bringing together the best people, properties and technologies to solve agricultural constraint issues. Kevin and his team at SWIIM and the technology they have co-developed with the USDA fit comfortably within our modus operandi.”
With decades of experience in water resource management (and water market reform) and agricultural production, the folks at goFARM are a strategic partner for SWIIM. They deliver to the company sophisticated agricultural investment capability based upon agriculture intelligence, participation in water market reform, transactional experience and financial expertise.
“It has been an absolute pleasure working with the team at goFARM. We have spent a good bit of time over the past 18 months vetting several financing options and related partners,” said Ed Warner, Chairman of SWIIM. “We chose goFARM, in part, due to their extensive knowledge of water scarcity and the many parallels that can be drawn between what Australia went through around changes to water law and what we are seeing in the arid western United States. They are a good group of professionals, and we are pleased to have their support and direction as we take SWIIM to the next level.”
SWIIM’s recent raise illustrates the potential for online investment platforms to help today’s agriculture technology innovators access the capital they need. On working with AgFunder, France said: “It can be a scary world out there when you are raising equity capital for innovative, development-stage companies. To have a partner like AgFunder that is locked into the industry and understands it, and who can bring people to the table that have an innate desire to be within the sector is invaluable. It eliminates the need to spend the first two to three calls explaining the industry or what you’re offering because the folks involved already have that industry knowledge when they walk in the door.”
As part of the deal, goFARM’s Liam Lenaghan will join SWIIM’s board of directors. In addition, Western Growers Association’s Dave Puglia will also join the board. The addition of Puglia and Lenaghan will broaden the company’s market reach and connect it with one of the largest agricultural trade groups in California, a state where water issues are currently taking center stage, and international agricultural markets.
AgFunder is the world’s first equity-based investment platform created specifically to connect Accredited investors with world-class agriculture and agtech investment opportunities from around the globe. Every project featured on AgFunder is evaluated for its economic and technical merits by our expert team of agriculture and business experts, providing potential investors access to some of the most promising agriculture investment opportunities. For more information visit http://agfunder.com.