Agrilyst Rebrands as Artemis, Lands $8M for Indoor Farming Software
Agrilyst, an agtech startup that has commercialized software that helps manage indoor farms and greenhouses, is unveiling a new name and additional capital. The company is now called Artemis and it has raised an $8 million Series A round of funding.
Astanor Ventures and Talis Capital co-led the investment announced Wednesday. Other investors include New York State’s Empire State Development Fund and iSelect Fund.
Indoor farming startups have caught the eyes of some venture capitalists, who have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into them in recent years, aiming to supply leafy greens and other produce year-round in or near urban areas. Many of these startups run their warehouse-like farms with proprietary software, but that’s not the indoor farming market New York-based Artemis is targeting.
Founder and CEO Allison Kopf says Artemis aims to serve farmers growing indoors, whether it’s in a turnkey Dutch greenhouse that comes with a lot of high-tech bells and whistles, or a smaller-scale greenhouse made from plastic sheets covering a frame. Many of these indoor farms are still managed with whiteboards, clipboards, and stacks of paper, Kopf says.
The Artemis software (screenshot above) handles tasks such as worker assignments, planning what to plant and when to plant it, and managing contracts with buyers. It also works with hardware and software already in use in many greenhouses, such as climate control systems. Kopf says the Artemis software can help growers track food safety issues, an important capability for regulatory compliance. She likens it to “enterprise resource planning” software used by businesses to handle IT, human resources, and other systems—but tailored to indoor farms.
“It’s taking the spreadsheets and pen and paper that they used to have and digitizing it for the first time,” Kopf told Xconomy in a phone interview.
According to data compiled by online investment marketplace AgFunder, farm management software startups raised $945 million in investment in 2018. The category includes startups working on sensing technologies that help growers collect and analyze data. The median Series A deal size for food and ag startups last year was $5 million.
Artemis started in 2015. Kopf says she got the idea while working at another startup, the New York indoor farming company BrightFarms, where her responsibilities included figuring out where to build greenhouses. She says she had difficulty doing that work efficiently, and couldn’t find software to help. That frustration led her to start Artemis.
To date, Artemis says it has raised $11.75 million total. The company’s customers range from indoor farmers growing berries to cannabis producers. Kopf says Artemis will use the new capital to help add new customers.
Artemis takes its new name from the Greek goddess of the hunt. But Kopf offers a more practical reason for selecting it. While most Artemis customers are in the US, the company is now planning on expanding globally. Kopf learned that Agrilyst is difficult for Spanish, French, and Arabic speakers to pronounce. She says Artemis will target Spain in particular, a country that has one region known for a complex of plastic greenhouses so large it reportedly can be seen from space.