Solum Inc. changed its name to Granular Inc. and launched a new cloud business software and analytics offering for farmers. The Granular platform, which was in stealth development in 2013, is now beta testing on several farms in the Midwest. Solum also announced that Monsanto Company has acquired Solum’s soil science business, which will be operated by its subsidiary The Climate Corporation.
The proceeds from the acquisition, along with a new $4.2 million round of financing from Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, are being invested into Granular to develop business software for the $3 trillion agriculture vertical. The funds will be used to expand Granular’s engineering team in San Francisco and sales and customer support teams across the United States.
“We were fortunate to develop two great business lines at Solum: an advanced soil science business based in Iowa and a cloud software and analytics business here in San Francisco,” said Sid Gorham, CEO of Granular. “The Climate Corporation is the right partner to bring our soil science innovations to their full commercial potential. For our part, we’re excited about building out Granular as a cloud software provider to help large farming businesses become more efficient, profitable and sustainable.”
Granular: Grow. Smarter.
The scale and complexity of agriculture has exploded in the past decades. The top 2% of farms now manage over one-third of cropland in the United States. Today, these large farmers are managing highly complex businesses using general business software on an office computer. With Granular, they will run their entire business on cloud and mobile applications that are purpose-built for agriculture.
“There have been significant technology advances in farm equipment and agronomic science, but nobody has developed enterprise-wide business software for our industry,” said Kip Tom, who runs large farms in Indiana and Argentina and is chairman of Granular’s Industry Advisory Board. “The time is now for a software platform that integrates business planning and performance analytics across our entire organization.”
Granular supports each of the main functional areas in a large farming business: planning, operations, marketing and finance. By integrating all of this functionality into a single application, Granular gives producers the end-to-end visibility and control they need to improve efficiency and make smarter business decisions. Granular captures critical production and financial data from each cropping cycle and uses advanced analytics to suggest opportunities for financial, operational and agronomic optimization.
"Agriculture is a large and critically important global industry," said Marc Andreessen, founder at Andreessen Horowitz and Wisconsin native. "We believe vertically focused SaaS companies like Granular can use the power of big data analytics to bring huge efficiency gains to the industries they serve."
“We see a tremendous opportunity to help advance the agriculture industry and are investing aggressively in this area,” said Vinod Khosla, general partner at Khosla Ventures. “Granular is pursuing a huge opportunity to help producers learn from their data and from each other.”
The Granular team has deep experience in software, agriculture and data science. Granular CEO, Sid Gorham, was on the founding team of OpenTable, helping launch their breakthrough software service for the restaurant industry. Sid also spent 10 years leading subscription analytics businesses in the telecom and media industries as CEO of Telephia and SVP of Strategy at Nielsen. Indiana-based VP of Sales, Ian Harley, was formerly CEO of Farmworks, one of the largest providers of desktop accounting software for farms. Brock LaPorte, who built high-performance development teams at Netscape, Sunpower and SugarSync, leads Granular’s technology team.