High Fidelity Genetics Closes Series A Financing
DURHAM, N.C., Dec. 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Hi Fidelity Genetics (HFG), a computational crop breeding company, announced it has closed an $8.5 million Series A round of financing co-led by agtech investment pioneers Fall Line Capital and Finistere Ventures. Gro Alliance, KdT Ventures, Prairie Crest Capital, S2G and Tom Farms also joined the round.
“In agriculture, the most consolidated point of value and technology is genetics because the only thing a farmer actually has to buy to be in business is a seed. Unfortunately, many farmers don’t have access to high-quality genetics at reasonable cost,” noted Dr. Spencer Maughan, co-founder of HFG and Finistere Ventures. “By using novel data sets and predictive data science to create the first end-to-end predictive breeding platform for crops, HFG is changing this paradigm and empowering farmers.”
In an era of low commodity prices1, climate volatility2 and decreased rates of genetic improvement3, the importance of novel sensors and plant traits is heightened. Crop breeding decisions will be increasingly made by artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive data science. HFG will use this investment to bring its breeding platform to the $50B+ global agricultural seed market4, with an initial focus on broad acre crops such as corn and cotton.
“When my team at DuPont Pioneer created the industry leading, drought tolerant AQUAmax maize hybrids, we were the first to apply genomic selection to develop commercial products. I’m excited to work with HFG to take this powerful breeding technology to the next level for the benefit of farmers,” added Dr. Mark Cooper, consulting CTO at HFG.
Working with leading farmers, HFG has developed new non-Genetically Modified (non-GM) corn hybrids that are competitive with current commercial seed. HFG’s data-driven approach has helped drive rapid improvement of its proprietary corn seed and dramatically decreased the cost of traditional breeding. With the funding, HFG will accelerate development of RootTracker™, the first scalable in-field root architecture sensor system for breeding more robust root systems, and Luther™, its end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI) breeding platform with the first prediction engine for hybrid seed creation.
“Since the early 2000s, seed corn prices have gone up 2.5x faster than corn prices, eroding the farmer’s share of farm-gate value. The ability of HFG’s technology to rapidly create outstanding corn seed and the company’s initial focus on delivering seed into the non-GM market, which has the lowest regulatory hurdles, frames a really exciting opportunity for creating value,” noted Clay Mitchell of Fall Line Capital.
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