Indigo Places #3 on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 2020 List
Founders: David Perry, Geoffrey von Maltzahn and Noubar Afeyan CEO: David Perry Launched: 2014 Headquarters: Boston Funding: $850 million Valuation: $3.5 billion Key technologies: Artificial intelligence, machine learning Industry: Agriculture, farming Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 2 (No. 1 in 2019)
Consumer demand for healthier, sustainable and traceable food is growing — even in the face of the coronavirus crisis. This agricultural technology start-up creates seed treatments that optimize the health of a plant in order to increase its yield. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has launched several efforts to support growers as they make their way through a planting season unlike any other. For instance, the company’s GrainWaves podcast offers real-time market insights, and its transportation logistics support hotline is available to any carrier.
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Indigo Agriculture’s mission is to use natural microbiology and technology to improve sustainability, profits for growers and consumer health. The company’s seed treatments are used for corn, wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton. In 2018, the company rolled out Indigo Marketplace, a digital platform that connects grain growers directly with buyers willing to pay for high-quality crops that retain their unique identities rather than those that get combined with similar crops. Its Indigo Carbon offering gives growers a financial incentive to enrich their soil with carbon.
The company also announced a partnership with Anheuser-Busch to deliver 2.2 million bushels of rice grown with specific environmental attributes. Rice grown for the partnership reduces water and nitrogen use by 10% and achieves at least 10% savings in greenhouse gas emissions compared to state benchmarks.
In May, Indigo joined an alliance led by the World Bank to help supply real-time satellite agricultural data generated by Indigo Atlas to advance food security across the world. Indigo Atlas, which combines remote sensing, ground equipment, historical and weather data, is capable of identifying subtle differences in crop performance across regions.
The company’s focus on technology as a tool to reimagine agriculture is wildly appealing to investors. In January it closed $200 million in financing, bringing its total funding to $850 million. In 2015 David Perry joined as CEO. He had previously run and sold two successful start-ups, one of which was acquired by Pfizer for $5.2 billion. Indigo Agriculture has more than 1,000 employees and six global locations.