London-based Breedr, a productivity and marketing platform that claims to transform the livestock supply chain, announced on Monday that it has raised £12M (nearly €14.36M) in an equity and debt round of funding.
This round brings the total funding raised by Breedr to £17.5M (nearly €20.9M) after the startup previously raised £5.2M (nearly €6.22M) from investors including LocalGlobe and Forward Partners.
Investors in this round
The investment was led by Investbridge Capital and its AgTech Fund. The firm launched the Fund in 2021 with the aim of combining diverse perspectives across venture, technology and agriculture, and delivering impact within the Food Production ecosystem.
Oliver Hogg, CEO of Investbridge Capital, says, “Breedr has built a platform that is solving issues across the agrifood industry, from delivering key insights to farmers to help improve the care and growth of their animals, to its transformative cash-flow product, to providing transparency across the supply chain to meet the needs of retailers and consumers. We’re delighted to be supporting them for the next stage of their growth journey.”
The round also saw participation from existing investors including UK-based VC firm LocalGlobe and Forward Partners, as well as new crowdfunding investors.
Remus Brett, general partner at LocalGlobe, says, “The agriculture industry is crying out for disruption not just for the sake of the farmers and their supply chains, but for the sake of the planet and consumers. There is huge potential for Breedr to revolutionise how we think about livestock and meat consumption in a way that benefits everyone. The success of its recent fundraise and a crowdfunding campaign is a testament to just how impactful it has become.”
Aims to transform farming across the world
Breedr claims that the proceeds from this round will be used to develop new financial products and services that will enable farmers to invest in their futures and transform farming across the world, starting with the UK.
The funds will also help Breedr’s external expansion plans, particularly focused on the Australian and US livestock markets. According to the startup, the US market, in particular, is about 40 times bigger than the UK’s and 10 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the agricultural industry.
Ian Wheal, founder and CEO at Breedr, says, “We have created Breedr to put data at the heart of farming. By enabling farmers to grow healthier animals, we’re transforming the industry: allowing farmers to use their animals to make investments in their farms, improve trading and provide more transparency to the supply chain – which is sorely needed in this under-invested industry. We’re seeing the positive impact this is having already in the UK on helping to decrease methane emissions and improve cash flow for farmers and can’t wait to expand this model across the world, starting with Australia and the US.”
Building fintech products for farmers
Farmers often face restricted access to finance and a survey by SME lender Propel finds that restricted access to finance is a concern for livestock producers in particular (33 per cent) and smaller farmers (under 25 per cent).
Concerns about finances were also cited as one of the main causes of stress for farmers in the UK and the removal of EU farming subsidies, which can make up to 90 per cent of a farm’s income, is adding to this.
This lack of cash flow is holding farmers back from making investments into their operations, such as introducing sustainable practices or improving practices that would make them, and the overall supply chain, better off in the long term. Yet, at the same time, farmers have an underleveraged asset class sitting on their farm that they can use as a cash flow product: their livestock.
Breedr is tackling this with the launch of Breedr Impact, a data-driven financial product for livestock farmers. Breedr Impact allows farmers to release cash from their livestock in order to invest in expanding their business. This form of asset purchase agreement allows farmers to access capital based on the data they use to grow their own farms.
Helping farmers with the quality of their livestock to improve their returns
Founded in 2019 by Ian Wheal, Breedr’s aim is to revolutionise outdated and inefficient agricultural practices by moving to individual animal management. Through its app and platform, farmers can record everything they need to know about their animals on their phones or laptop.
The app can help farmers track metrics such as weight, genetics, health, and medication to improve animal welfare and profitability over time. They can scan electronic ear tags, sync movements, record medicine use, store breeding and fertility information, and receive individual data analytics for each animal in real-time to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions.
Breedr’s growth algorithm and benchmarking tools use this data to predict the future growth of animals, guiding farmers on how to grow healthier animals and plan finishing dates.
To date, the startup claims to have helped over 1,100 UK farmers transform their businesses through data analysis of more than 160,000 registered animals. Farmers on the platform can also buy and sell cattle via the Breedr Marketplace, with over 6,000 animals worth £4.5M having been traded since January 2021, claims the company.
In terms of making agriculture more sustainable and successful, Breedr claims that its top farmers are producing beef with 28 per cent less carbon footprint than the industry average, and the company is working on rolling out more sustainable, data-driven supply chains. Breedr Impact can also provide better rates to farmers who are more environmentally friendly as this ensures the animals are healthier for sale – creating a positive circular impact for farmers and the wider supply chain.