Dutch-American Start-up FarmTrace Accelerates Its European Expansion Plans
Founded in 2018, the Dutch-American start-up and California-based FarmTrace has bolstered its presence in the European market with two Dutch acquisitions, automation companies VSM Automatisering (Ruma), and Elda ICT Services. FarmTrace is a software provider that unifies and connects farm systems aiming to streamline the food value chain.
VSM, based in Sambeek, goes to market under the brand Ruma and offers businesses in the space of cattle farms, veal farming, pig farming, livestock traders, and feed traders the opportunity to gain insight into business operations. By collecting data, while remaining compliant with local regulations, farmers, and ultimately, consumers can trace a product more easily. For farmers, data input is automated as much as possible and keeps data entry time to a minimum.
Elda ICT Services, based in the municipality of Rijen, aims to unburden farmers of the registration processes around livestock. Local regulations require farmers to register and report animal mutations, diseases, etc. Elda, among other things, provides handheld readers with proprietary software to automate the exchange of data to databases, including EL&I GD, VKI, and Agrobase.
With these acquisitions, FarmTrace aims to offer a complete insight into the food chain ‘from farm to plate’ through its data platform. As consumer behavior and awareness change, FarmTrace wants to provide consumers with insight into where food comes from, how it is produced, and what it contains. By connecting the value chain, products can be traced from beginning to end by scanning, for instance, a QR code on the packaging. The whole production process is measurable in detail, which also contributes to less waste.
Simultaneously, FarmTrace connects the agricultural ecosystem by providing users access to how products are used in the farming process and the resulting outcomes. With these insights, it will become clearer for producers to optimize product performance. Farmers using FarmTrace’s solutions will also retain full ownership of their data while remaining compliant with existing regulations.
There are several reasons why agricultural and farming businesses could benefit from solutions such as FarmTrace. According to a 2019 Accenture survey with a sample of 6,000 consumers across 11 countries, over half of the respondents said they would be willing to pay more for sustainably sourced products. This ultimately leads to a profit increase for manufacturers. A second benefit is product effectiveness and innovation. With greater insight into specifics of product usage and outcomes, manufacturers can cooperate with customers, tailor, and optimize their products, leading to better products, greater customer retention levels, and consumer loyalty. A third benefit is welfare and safety. A single source of truth that combines various data sources leads to faster track and tracing if there is an outbreak or a production mishap throughout the supply chain. Products can quickly be traced and limit the collateral damage, in some cases, even preventing a product from reaching the market. The benefits and opportunities are vast.
With the new acquisitions, FarmTrace is making a push for the European FarmTech market and hopes to increase its market share. Today, FarmTrace has over 20,000 customers in Europe and the US and expects to add another 10,000 by 2021 and reach 100,000 customers by 2025. Additionally, FarmTrace managed to raise €12 million through co-founder of Tango and Route Mobile and winegrowers Albada Jelgersma to support its expansion.
PAC sees excellent potential in this market. Particularly in the Netherlands and the US, two of the leading agricultural producing and exporting countries globally. Technologies such as IoT, AI/ML, big data analytics, 5G, Edge computing, connected vehicles will continue to add value to the farming space to benefit manufacturers and consumers alike.