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TeleSense Harvesting $10.2M Series B For Grain Spoilage Predictor

Once grain is harvested, it sits in siloes and other containers until it is sold. Farmers manually inspect the grain, but that often is not enough to combat grain spoilage.

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Enter TeleSense, a Sunnyvale, California-based company that is digitizing the post-harvest grain supply chain using advanced Internet of Things, real-time environmental monitoring and cloud-based artificial intelligence. The process mitigates spoilage, reduces quality degradation, reduces energy costs and increases worker safety, TeleSense co-founder and CEO Naeem Zafar told Crunchbase News.

“Once you harvest the grain, it never gets better, but can you predict when it goes bad?” he said. “There was patchy data prior, but if you can have continuous data coming in with AI, you can take prescriptive action and make decisions. We can be 95 percent accurate of what might happen.”

The company closed on a $10.2 million Series B round of financing led by existing investor Finistere Ventures. New investors joining the round included Fulcrum Global Capital, UPL Ltd. Artesian and Mindset Ventures, as well as existing investor Rabobank’s Food & Agri Innovation Fund. With the new round, TeleSense has raised a total of $17 million since its inception in 2014, Zafar said. That includes a $6.5 million Series A round in 2018, according to Crunchbase data.

Finistere Ventures also led TeleSense’s Series A round, and Spencer Maughan, co-founder and partner, said in an interview that the company brought a unique take to post-harvest management.

“When we saw what Naeem was building around the commodity supply chain and the track record he had established in both hardware and enterprise software, we knew TeleSense would be redefining how grain is stored, handled and traded,” he said.

In addition to the investment, TeleSense added Soren Schroder, former CEO of Bunge, and Mark Palmquist, CEO of United Malt, to its board of directors.

Meanwhile, the global grain silos and storage system market size is estimated to be valued at $1.3 billion this year and projected to reach $1.6 billion by 2025, according to a Research and Markets report.

Zafar is expecting 500 percent growth from last year, and another 500 percent next year. He also expects to grow the employee base to 70 next year from 50.

He intends to put the new funding to work growing the sales and data science teams, speeding up production of the hardware and software, and signing up dealers to represent the product. Zafar also plans to create a monthly or quarterly subscription model for the hardware and software in order to scale.

“We will bring in dealers and hire direct sales people in Australia and Europe,” he said. “We are just getting started. In the middle of 2021, we will go into the Black Sea region and Brazil. Then in 2022, enter the rest of Asia.”

Photo of spear in grain courtesy of TeleSense
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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