Published On: 10/06/2022Categories: AgTech, Entrepreneurs, Industry News

Smart Apply Closes Extended Seed Round, Raises Another $1.8 Million for Total Raise of $3.1 Million

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The Agtech Startup Eager to Scale Company in Advance of 2023 Growing Season

Smart Apply®, an agtech startup whose precision spray system and data collection technology significantly reduces chemical and water usage in orchards, nurseries, and vineyards and advances sustainability goals, has successfully raised $1.8 million in an extension of a seed round, which is now closed with a total raise of $3.1 million.

Serra Ventures led the round with a commitment of $750,000. Also participating in the seed round extension are Frontier Angels, and VisionTech Angels. Both Frontier Angels and VisionTech Angels made follow-on investments to their initial seed round participation in May 2022.

“Serra Ventures had been following the great progress of the Smart Apply team for over a year before making our recent investment decision. This is a technology and a team that is a crucial value-add to the ag tech landscape. We are excited to join them as they tackle a major industry pain point of overspray and excessive chemical usage,” said

Serra Ventures CEO and Managing Partner Tim Hoerr.

The Smart Apply system helps solve significant financial, operational, regulatory, and sustainability challenges faced by orchards, nurseries, and vineyards around the world. In 2022, growers experienced intense pressure from rising chemical costs, droughts and labor shortages. Additionally, there are increased regulatory, marketplace, and consumer demands to reduce and better control chemical use.

Smart Apply President and CEO Jerry Johnson said, “The world’s fruit, nut, tree, grape, and other permanent crop growers recognize the need to adopt technology that supports production while protecting the environment. As growers experience the significant benefits of reduced dependence on chemicals, cost savings on chemicals and labor, and automated data reporting, demand for the Smart Apply system will grow exponentially. This raise will enable us to dramatically strengthen our presence and impact among key targets in advance of the 2023 growing season, including growers, equipment dealers and equipment manufacturers.”

Proceeds from the raise will be used to build upon Smart Apply’s impressive momentum in which it doubled sales of its precision spray and data collection system in 2021 and 2022. The company will be building out its sales team, increasing marketing and expanding manufacturing capacity.

Johnson adds the ease with which Smart Apply’s technology can be integrated into growers’ current processes is a major competitive advantage. “Our system is sold as a kit that is compatible with nearly all air-blast sprayers. It has the added benefit of capturing critical data while spraying to help growers monitor and manage orchard health. Growers can use this data for reporting to regulatory agencies as well as to support immediate and long-term operations of their orchard or vineyard.”

The Smart Apply Intelligent Spray Control System is based on more than a decade of development, field-testing, and research by 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 percent, 52.8. percent and 50 percent on average at two nurseries and a fruit farm, respectively. Iowa State University shared results of their 2020-2021 research in May 2022 on Iowa and Ohio apple orchards that realized reductions in spray volumes of 40 to 80 percent compared to standard air blast sprayers.