Vancouver’s Semios harvests $100-million from main backer for more agriculture-tech acquisitions – The Globe and Mail


New funding worths Semios in extra of $1-billion, chief authorities officer Michael Gilbert said.


SemiosBio Utilized sciences Inc. has enhanced $100-million to advance its plans To buy up completely different agriculture know-how gamers worldwidely.

The Vancouver agency, which has introduced three acquisitions since June – collectively with final month’s 9-decide buy of Australia’s Agworld Pty Ltd. – said the equity financing was led by its primary outdoors shareholder, Morningside Group. The Boston particular personal equity agency, administrationled by billionaire brcompletely differents Gerald and Ronnie Chan, heirs to a Hong Kong property fortune, led Semios’s $102-million equity financing in early 2020. The mannequin new funding worths Semios in extra of $1-billion, chief authorities officer Michael Gilbert said in an interview.

It’s the Thirty fourth $100-million-plus enterprise capital funding of a Canadian agency this yr, obliterating The complete-yr doc of 12 set in 2019, Based mostly on evaluation agency Refinitiv.

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Betting the farm: Vancouver’s Semios makes play To Wind up to be worldwide agtech huge with $100-million-plus acquisition

Semios, based in 2010, is a specialist in “precision farming” know-how that constructed its enterprise Prior to now decade by combining synthetic intelligence; wi-fi sensor know-how; and a chemistry trick To sprime the unfold of bugs that damage extreme-worth crops Similar to almonds, lemons, grapes, apples and pistachios. It is Definitely one of a quantity of Canadian corporations, collectively with Farmers Edge Inc. , and Telus Corp. , Making an try to digitize The worldwide agriculture enterprise, although Semios is believed to be the world’s largest indepfinishent participant, up in the direction of chemical huges Monsanto Co. and DuPont de Nemours Inc., which have in-house tech mannequins.

Semios’s signature offering is bug-administration know-how that doesn’t use pesticides to kill pests, however pretty non-poisonous synthesized chemical compounds that fool them into not reproducing. The Semios spray mimics pheromones, pure chemical alerts that the bugs sfinish out To at least Every completely different. Semios’s simulated pheromones are sprayed at intervals from canisters mounted in orchards and vineyards to confuse males, which fly Proper into a fog of phony pheromones Looking for females, and attain The prime of their lifespan earlier than propagating. Semios sells its methods on a subscription basis, which means farmers don’t Want To place out huge sums for know-how they’ll Want to commerce at Their very personal value.

Mr. Gilbert said consumers informed him they have been Uninterested in Dealing with a quantity of startups that assist collect knowledge and information selections on farm circumstances. They inspired him To buy completely different rising gamers So as that they might Deal with fewer suppliers.

He said Morningside’s funding final yr was meant to bankroll acquisitions – and that the investor informed him It’d proceed to finance Semios if he might show out the method. “I knew I Desired to get An monumental which meansful one So as to set off some Adjust to-on capital To Carry on rising,” Mr. Gilbert said.

The acquisition of Agworld, a supplier of enterprise useful resource planning Computer software to farmers that generates about $10-million in annual income, “was enough to fulfill the Morningside group that we might enhance extra capital and Continue to develop and do extra acquisitions,” he said. Semios introduced two smaller provides in June, buying for Altrac, a San Francisco-based maker of administration methods that flip farm wind machines on and off, and Centricity of Wenatchee, Wash., which assists farmers handle knowledge round compliance and traceability for crop inputs.

Morningside declined an interview request. The agency’s funding supervisor, Mick Sawka, said in A press launch: “Morningside invests in corporations dedicated to tackling pressing worldwide problems head on” collectively with making sure the sustainability of meals manufacturing amid local climate change. “Semios is A pacesetter in serving to farmers Reply to this problem and we’re proud To face behind them.”

Mr. Gilbert said Semios is in talks with completely different potential targets; he expects his agency to make ancompletely different Deal inside six months. He said Semios is Looking for acquisitions Which might take it to new markets or broaden the scope of Providers purchased to farmers. The CEO expects his 250-particular person agency will roughly double annual incomes to US$100-million inside two yrs, at which level It’d go public.

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“Semios is on hearth,” said Leah Lawrence, CEO of federal agency Sustainable Enchancment Technology Canada, which has provided $12-million in funding to Semios. “We’ve had 100 yrs of know-how development and management Within the agriculture space. Michael is capitalizing on that by taking superior science and analytics and making use of them to what has been Canada’s conventional power in agricultural manufacturing for export.”

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