farmer connect®, the global supply chain software provider that enables fair, sustainable and traceable agriculture, has secured $9 million in a Series A investment round.
The investment round was led by ITOCHU Corporation, a major Japanese general trading company that supplies raw materials to manufacturers and retailers around the world. Additional investors from Europe and both North and South America participated in the round, along with founding partner Sucafina, the “Farm to Roaster” coffee company.
The farmer connect® vision is to “humanize consumption through technology”, enabling traceable, sustainable and efficient agriculture supply chains by connecting farmers to consumers, and everyone in between. farmer connect® helps small holder farmers to connect digitally to the agriculture supply chain, and its blockchain technology ensures traceability and data validation by all parties. Its thank my farmer™ app then allows consumers to trace the origins and quality of the commodity and even financially support the producer that grew the raw goods.
This collaborative network enabled by farmer connect® software ensures safe and immutable supply chain data, which supports producers in accessing financing and investment, therefore improving living conditions, and also benefits traders, roasters, retailers and brands by streamlining the process for them to access sustainable produce through task automation, reporting and smart contracts.
The Series A financing comes following significant growth in 2020, which saw a surge in revenue and a rapidly growing roster of clients and industry partnerships, including Cooxupé, the world’s biggest coffee cooperative in Brazil, UCC Coffee, Beyers Koffie, and The J.M. Smucker Company. Additionally, farmer connect® recruited ex-Kraft Foods and Nestlé executive Michael Chrisment as CEO in July 2020, to fast-track growth.
farmer connect® Chief Executive Officer Michael Chrisment commented: “The agriculture supply chain is crying out for a data-led approach, and consumers want to be able to make informed decisions about the products they buy. Traceability has traditionally been highly challenging and fragmented, but technologies like blockchain bring all parties in the supply chain together, simplifying the exchange and tracking of information and payments, and enabling greater trust. This, in turn, empowers smallholder farmers, reduces inefficiencies for global enterprises, and informs people about how their products were produced.”
“There is huge supply chain demand for traceability, ESG and SDG tracking, carbon footprint tracking and further task automation. This investment round will help us to scale rapidly to meet demand and fulfil our commitments to support industry transformation”, Chrisment continued.
Series A funding will support the continued development of new products and services specifically in the area of ESG and SDG tracking, and the recruitment of sector-specialist commercial and customer success teams across the world (including Geneva, New York City, Singapore and Brazil) in sectors that impact small holder farmers, such as coffee, cocoa, tea, spices and fragrances.
“The farmer connect® software is well-timed with the rapidly increasing demand for solutions that bring traceability and trust to the agriculture supply chain,” said Koji Yamamoto (Mr), General Manager of Sugar, Confectionery Materials, Coffee & Dairy Products Dept, ITOCHU. “We believe there is a definite demand from the market for more transparent and ethical solutions that provide value to all actors of the supply chain.”
The farmer connect® software builds and expands on IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply, adapting it to the needs and business models of the supply chain and adding new features, such as the ability for farmers to participate directly in data sharing and control. “The industry experts at farmer connect® have developed a powerful blockchain collaborative ecosystem that unpacks the traceability of commodities. We are excited to collaborate with and support them as they work to build a great tech company that connects farmers and consumers, and that helps farmers to improve production and scale their business,” commented Nicolas A. Tamari, Chief Executive Officer, Sucafina SA.
About farmer connect®
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Switzerland, farmer connect® is a global industry-led company with the vision to humanize consumption through technology. Its cutting-edge software promotes fair, sustainable and traceable agriculture, enabling an inclusive and efficient supply chain from farmers to consumers. Built on emerging technologies, such as blockchain, self-sovereign identity, and artificial intelligence, the agritech ecosystem allows safe and private business data storage and sharing, as well as the exchange and tracking of information and payments. The initiative is supported by industry leaders who recognize digitalization, transparency and sustainability as powerful trends in the agriculture sector. At this stage, farmer connect® is focused on coffee and cocoa, with ambitions to cover other agricultural commodities in the near future.
About farmer connect® products
farmer connect® is built around three main products: farmer id, the connect hub and the thank my farmerTM app. From the producers to the consumers, trustworthiness and identification are at the core of each solution, transforming the consumer journey and thereby driving business results such as engagement and product consideration.
- farmer id is a solution based on Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI), that allows farmers to connect digitally to the agriculture supply chain to get proof of their income, safely store and manage digital versions of transaction receipts or certifications, all in one place. One aim is to support farmers’ access to financing and investments and therefore improve their living conditions, as well as ensuring traceability of products.
- connect hub brings together data from across the supply chain, storing it safely and allowing controlled access so that key data points can be validated and processed. Built around a blockchain core, powered by IBM, it ensures the traceability, safe storage and validation by all parties involved in data traveling through the supply chain. Partners can upload information through forms and spreadsheet templates, as well as full system integration through Application Programming Interfaces (API). It can also automate specific tasks, through reporting (e.g. sustainability reports) and smart contracts.
- thank my farmerTM is a web-based app that allows consumers to trace the origins and quality of a product. It also lets consumers learn about the farmer, with the opportunity to engage directly with local farmer communities by learning about and donating towards programs that support the sustainability and local prosperity of origin farms. This happens in a secure tech environment, with confirmation that donations have reached their intended destination.