Bushel Closes on $47M Series C to Digitize Grain Supply Chains
By Lynda Kiernan, Global AgInvesting Media
Bushel, an independently owned software and software technology solutions provider to grain growers, buyers, protein producers, and food companies, has announced $47 million in funding raised through a Series C led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood and Continental Grain Company.
Germin8 Ventures also participated in the round, as well as Cargill - which in addition to its investment has committed to using Bushel’s platform to power some of its internal and external digital tools - and Scoular, which has been using Bushel’s platform since 2018.
“We are excited to invest further into Bushel alongside some of our high-value partners like Cargill and Scoular,” said Chris Abbott, co-head, Continental Grain Ventures. “Bushel is one of the leading independent software companies in agriculture, and serves as the critical link connecting growers to grain buyers, processors, brands and consumers.”
Additionally, Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. is expected to close their investment in the round within the coming weeks. This round follows a $19.5 million Series B raised by the company in December 2019 that was also led by Continental Grain Co. and included Lewis & Clark AgriFood, as well as Germin8 Ventures.
Since its beginning in 2011, Bushel has been focused on developing software. Co-founded in Fargo, North Dakota, by North Dakota State University graduates Jake Joraanstad and Ryan Raguse, Bushel is working to use digital infrastructure to connect and enhance the grain industry, with the understanding that the industry is “bigger than farmers”. The company cites infrastructure as being the greatest advancement touching the grain industry in the last century, but also notes that digital infrastructure has not kept pace, and lacks standardization.
Currently, grain sharing systems are manual and fragmented, noted Bushel, resulting in a loss of productivity and potential revenue. From an agnostic and independent position, Bushel believes that better communication can result in greater efficiencies. Toward this end, Bushel’s ecosystem powers APIs, apps, websites, and digital solutions that support business operations along the entire grain industry.
“Bushel is here to win for our customers and their growers,” said Jake Joraanstad, CEO and co-founder, Bushel. “We are here to build on the agriculture industry's century of infrastructure investment. We're here not to disrupt but instead, to collaborate and help lead the industry into the digital age with strategies that make sense and provide value for all stakeholders in the ag and food value chain. We serve as the independent integration hub that saves businesses significant manual effort, time and expense, while also strengthening the relationships between growers and agribusinesses through secure, proven and easy to use software products and services.”
Users of Bushel’s tech stack can manage transactions and relay information directly to producer’s mobile devices; build and host websites to share information; streamline merchandising processes; create and manage cash bids, offers, and hedges; and leverage Bushel’s more than 600 custom tools to address specific jobs or tasks.
"As Food and Agriculture specialist investors, we see Bushel as the leader in connecting disparate data systems in the ‘messy middle’ of the food and agriculture supply chain,” said Larry Page, managing director, Lewis & Clark Agrifood. “Digital innovation has landed on the farm, but few companies are focused on the digital side of agriculture (or lack thereof) from the farm gate and beyond. We hear so much noise in the space with very little real traction.”
Bushel’s platform integrates into diverse grain accounting systems, trading desks, farm management systems, insurance companies, and market feels to allow different software systems to work with each other. Today, 60,000 growers use Bushel’s services and products per month, and nearly 2,000 grain buying locations across the U.S. and Canada engage with Bushel to power their grower-facing and internal software products.
Bushel’s platform now touches 40 percent of grain origination in the U.S., contracting $22 billion in grain annually, and reflecting the largest tech network among growers and grain buyers in the country today. But there is still plenty of growth to realize.
With the capital from this round Bushel will strengthen its fintech services with the introduction of payments, credit, trading offerings and data services, including capabilities to help consumer brands sustainably source commodities in the global grain supply chain.
It also will drive the acceleration of Bushel’s current product offerings that are delivering value to growers, commodity buyers, ag retailers, and CPGs. Likewise, Bushel will build upon its collaborative ethos through the addition of new participants through the value chain, particularly upstream with CPGs and consumer brands that can capitalize upon the insights Bushel provides to help meet their sustainability goals and benchmarks.
“As a grower myself, and a daily user of Bushel’s products and services, it’s been rewarding to have a front row seat to the work our team is doing to create a great platform for the existing food industry,” said Ryan Raguse, president and co-founder, Bushel. “This also comes with a deep responsibility to be stewards of the data that flows through the digital infrastructure we’re building.”
“In addition to the responsibility of carrying the data of our customers and their growers, Bushel’s platform also carries the data of many of our employees’ farming operations, including my own,” Raguse continued. “We will continue to set high standards for data security, ownership and transparency in order to protect and empower our customers, our families and the broader agriculture industry.”