AgTech Startup Smart Apply Raises $1.3 Million in Seed Round

Smart Apply, an agtech startup whose precision spray technology reduces chemical and water usage by orchards and vineyards by an average of 50%, has successfully raised a $1.3 million seed round. The proceeds from the round will be used to build upon the company’s momentum in preparation for a Series A round.

Indianapolis-based VisionTech Angels led the round with strong participation from Elevate Ventures, Frontier Angels, AGrow Ventures, and individual angel investors.

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The Smart Apply system helps solve significant challenges faced by orchards and vineyards around the world to reduce and better control chemical use. Additionally, water shortages are necessitating aggressive measures to use limited resources more intelligently without sacrificing crop yields.

Commenting on the announcement, Smart Apply Founder and Chairman Steve Booher said, “The excitement in the marketplace around our Smart Apply precision spray technology is palpable, with placements in the field growing faster than projections. Our value proposition that we reduce dependence on pesticides, other chemicals, and water by 50% and more resonates on multiple levels: financial, environmental, social, and public health. The timing for Smart Apply could not be better.”

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The Smart Apply precision spray system is based on nearly a decade of development, field-testing, and research at the USDA Agriculture Research Service. A study published in The Journal of ASTM International in September 2020, found that the system reduced pesticide use by 60%, 52.8.%, and 50% on average at two nurseries and a fruit farm, respectively. The system also reduced pesticide costs significantly.

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VisionTech Executive Director Ben Pidgeon said Smart Apply’s technology and traction resonated with his angel network: 35 investors wrote checks totaling $390,000. “We invested in Smart Apply because of the quadruple value proposition. Farmers win because they can spend less on pesticides and decrease water usage. The environment wins because fewer chemicals are required to achieve the same or better results and there’s less spray drift, which satisfies regulatory oversight. Equipment dealerships win by having better technology that meets customers’ needs. Finally, Smart Apply wins because they are at the center of the value equation.”

Smart Apply CEO Jerry Johnson said the ease with which Smart Apply’s technology can be integrated with a farmer’s current spray equipment and processes is a major part of Smart Apply’s appeal. “Our system, which is sold as a kit, is compatible with existing air-blast sprayers. Farmers realize the significant benefits of Smart Apply immediately. The sustainability and cost advantages are just too big to ignore.”

The company’s Series A round is anticipated to begin in early summer.

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Avatar for Lee Roberts Lee Roberts says:

Farmers are already reducing fertilizer cost over 70% while increasing yield nearly 7% with “SNX30-XL nutrient supplement”. As one farmer describes it, “It almost feels like cheating!”