Connected cows just got a €7.8m boost as Dutch startup Connecterra raised what is thought to be the biggest Series B investment round for a European livestock tech company.
Connecterra has developed an artificial intelligence-based system that allows dairy farmers to monitor their herds with more precision. Cows wear Fitbit-like sensors that monitor their movements and the system analyses these to flag up any problems — cows not eating as much as usual, or moving less than normal.
The system can allow farmers to detect conditions such as lameness and mastitis early — as well as indicating when cows are in heat and ready for insemination. Connecterra says the system can eliminate the use of hormones in dairy farming and reduce the use of antibiotics by 50%.
The Covid-19 crisis has speeded up the adoption of technology in the farming sector, as in other sectors. Agriculture already suffers from a dwindling workforce and the need to do more with fewer resources has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
A handful of companies is coming up with innovative robot and artificial intelligence-based solutions for everything from chickens to cows, and Connecterra is among the best-funded of these, having raised a total of around €18m since launch.
The new funding will be used to fuel Connecterra’s expansion in Europe, the US and New Zealand.
Investors in this round include ADM Capital (investor in AeroFarms, the agtech startup that raised $100m last year and is building some of the world’s biggest vertical farms) and food safety company Kersia. Big-name customers include Danone and Bayer.