ARLINGTON, Va.– EarthOptics has closed its Series A investment round, raising an additional $10.3 million in funding. This funding will enable further growth and expansion across more farmland of its patent-pending soil mapping and machine learning technologies. Lead investor Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer, is joined in this Series by new investors S2G Ventures and previous investors FHB Ventures, Middleland Capital’s VTC Ventures and Route 66 Ventures.
Jürgen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer, says, “Leaps by Bayer invests in climate-smart solutions that are bringing a fresh perspective and breakthrough technologies to agriculture and allows farmers to contribute to solving global problems.”
With a soil-first focus, EarthOptics aims to transform soil measurement and analysis approaches to give farmers the most accurate view of soil health, compaction and carbon content. This will provide farmers with greater return on investment, promote more active participation in the growing carbon market and increase their abilities to generate a climate-positive impact.
“Scientists estimate that farm soils could store over 60 billion tons of additional carbon,” explains EarthOptics CEO Lars Dyrud. “EarthOptics’ machine-learning technologies will be at the center of helping farmers gain control over returning carbon to the soil by accurately mapping both soil carbon and agricultural practices like tillage. We need to know what’s working and where it’s working for sustainability efforts to be successful at scale. Using the combination of GroundOwl™ and C-Mapper™, we can dramatically reduce the number of costly lab-tested soil samples necessary for verifying carbon credits.”
The view into the soil starts with soil sampling using the company’s GroundOwl sensor suite that greatly minimizes the required number of manual samples. The tool can be mounted on a UTV and deploys ground-penetrating radar and electromagnetic induction sensors with no soil contact or speed limitation. Then, using machine learning in its mapping applications TillMapper™ and C-Mapper, EarthOptics converts that gathered data into a series of maps that provide farmers with unparalleled detail for more accurate, efficient decision-making. These innovations serve as the foundation for the SoilCloud™ EarthOptics is building, which will lead to fewer and fewer samples needing to be collected over time.
TillMapper’s three-dimensional view of soil compaction helps farmers decide if, when, where and how deep to apply tillage. The tillage prescription can be exported as a variable-depth tillage or a binary till/no-till. By tilling only where needed, farmers realize cost-savings in fuel, equipment and labor, as well as limit the amount of carbon released from the soil through tillage. C-Mapper gives producers critical verification at a fraction of the cost of traditional soil core methods so they can market carbon credits via agriculture’s newest commodity market.
“We are excited to partner with EarthOptics as it builds the first-of-its-kind soil-mapping technology that provides the accuracy of traditional soil samples at a lower cost and effort,” says Cristina Rohr, principal of investments at S2G Ventures. “With EarthOptics’ technology, farmers can measure and verify carbon sequestration, and optimize water and fertilizer usage. We look forward to partnering with this exceptional team as they scale commercially and give more farmers insights to achieve their sustainability goals.”
EarthOptics continues to research more diverse applications for its technology. The company is exploring soil moisture mapping and soil nutrient fertility mapping, which will provide farmers with a single source for multiple levels of field data. In addition, trials are being completed on a new StabilityMapper™ program, which will target the construction industry. In effect, it will provide site developers, construction managers, municipalities and contractors with information outlining soil stability and density before final site selection, undercutting, laying a foundation or forming a roadbed.
At EarthOptics, we see soil. Differently. GroundTruth Ag, Inc., dba EarthOptics, was founded in 2018 and has offices in Raleigh, NC; Arlington and Blacksburg, VA; Minneapolis, MN; and Fayetteville, AR. EarthOptics is an agricultural technology company developing next-generation soil-sensing technologies that give growers revolutionary insights into the physical characteristics of their soil. EarthOptics beat out three finalists and more than 100 international agtech startup entries to win the AGCO Innovation Challenge Award during the 2021 World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit. We believe that below-ground precision and innovation in the soil space is long overdue. Our ultimate goal is to deliver point-of-care soil health insights – related to physical, chemical and biological attributes of soil – in real time. To achieve this goal, we’ve assembled a team with diverse backgrounds in engineering, software development, geospatial analytics, data science, machine learning, and logistics and operations. To learn more, visit www.earthoptics.com or connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/earthoptics/.