Sustainable Agritech Firm Hectare Secures £17m Investment
Hectare, an agricultural software platform based in the United Kingdom, has acquired £17m million from previous investors Pario Ventures and Seedrs for the development and distribution of its sustainable food supply chain services.
Hectare's mission is to use technology to construct a sustainable agricultural supply chain. They have a range of software and data products that help businesses optimize the trading of livestock and crops, enabling the system to become both more efficient in terms of cost and resources, and also more eco-friendly.
Jamie Mcinnes, the head of Hectare, explained that the most difficult problems to solve are not easily visible, even for people who are immersed in the business of moving crops and livestock every day. His organization's mission is to discover and address the hidden issues in the food supply chain by creating connected digital solutions. These solutions are meant to make it easier for people to make small yet effective changes - like procuring grain from more local sources or digitizing paper-based tasks such as invoicing - in order to accomplish more significant objectives.
Becoming an expert in agribusiness logistics
Jamie McInnes, CEO and creator, and Dan Luff, a cattle farmer, identified a necessity for direct farmer-to-farmer trading and, utilizing their knowledge in technology and farming, created SellMyLivestock. This was proceeded with the initiation of Graindex, a grain trading platform, and in 2021 the business launched a selection of inventory, trading, market analysis and logistics services.
The business, established in 2015, has now provided more than $1 billion in commodities trading through its technologies. These technologies create great insight into factors such as animal health and market prices, allowing agri-businesses to make wiser decisions while improving their sustainablity, productivity, and profits.
Hectare's technology has made it possible for 130,000 farm businesses to effectively trade livestock and improve animal welfare come 2022, while simultaneously decreasing the carbon footprint of the beef and sheep supply chain by 2.5 million livestock miles.
After Hectare's expansion, additional investment was seen
Hectare announced that it had raised $20 million in Series A funding to expedite the advancement of its digital systems that link the essential components of the food supply chain.
Existing and private investors spearheaded the financing round. The money will be put towards the progress of Hectare's Software-as-a-Service inventory, trading, logistics and market insights product; and the addition of new markets abroad.
Hectare's solutions are now employed by more than 130,000 farm businesses, creating one of the most expansive international networks of agricultural enterprises. Utilizing digital solutions to directly link all members of the supply chain, Hectare is effectively addressing the hidden inefficiencies that exist between the farm and factory gate.
Given the pressing issues the food system currently faces in terms of sustainability and supply, it is not unexpected that the firm was able to obtain capital even in times of market tumult.
What is the significance of agricultural supply chains?
Climate change is heavily impacted by the food system, and its effects on biodiversity, water, and land are immense. If current trends persist, the Paris Agreement goals will be unattainable due to the projected 60-90% increase in emissions between 2010 and 2050. (Source)
The UNEP's Emissions Gap Report 2022 stated that tackling food systems can provide insights into the various associated environmental, health, and financial impacts. This includes pre- and post-production activities, as well as transportation, industrial activities, storage, and consumption of food.
The complexity of calculating emissions stemming from the food sector, due to its multiple sectors, was highlighted by researchers. Nevertheless, forming a connection between the supply and demand sides, as outlined in this study, can ensure that mitigation techniques are compatible with food security and help create unified adaptation and mitigation policies.
Approximately one-third of all GHG emissions are related to the food system. The majority of these emissions come from agricultural production, estimated at 39%, with changes in land use in second place at 32%, and the rest being generated by activities in the supply chain including retail, transportation, consumption, fuel production, waste management, and industrial processes and packaging.
Since the 1960s, there has been an increase of four times in the production of meat, which is responsible for more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions created by the agriculture sector (https://doi.org/10.1787/19428846-en). It is essential that individuals worldwide consume no more than 14 grams of red meat, 29 grams of poultry and 28 grams of fish per day in order to steer clear of the predicted 60% surge in meat production by the year 2050.
The UNEP report states that although there has been a threefold surge in total consumption of meat substitutes since 2013, there has not been much headway in terms of dietary changes. Additionally, none of the NDCs set out in the Paris Agreement explicitly references the need to lower the intake of animal protein.