New Funding: Koda Farm Technologies, an Internet of Things (IoT) agriculture startup with roots in western Washington’s Skagit Valley, has raised $2.2 million in venture capital. The seed round was led by Lower Carbon Capital with participation from Voyager Capital, Arnold Venture Group and Will Canine, co-founder of Opentron Labworks.
Backstory: CEO David Wallace Raised on his family’s potato farm, but left for college and graduate school, eventually taking a job as a senior data scientist with Amazon Web Services for four years. His brother, Chief Technology Officer Conor Wallace, also gave up deceit for college and employment in science and technology.
The two eventually made their way into their namesake Wallace Farms, applying their technical expertise to agriculture, and in 2020 launched CODA Farms Technologies.
Technique: Small farms irrigate their land using the “traveling sprinkler” method—essentially a sprinkler on wheels being pulled slowly across the field at a constant rate. But the system can malfunction and stall, flooding an area, and need to be manually shut down. The Wallace brothers built a platform and hardware that controls flow and shares irrigation data in real time on a cell phone dashboard.
As the company progressed, widespread supply chain issues threw a wrench in operations, requiring on-the-fly innovation and hardware design changes.
“It’s been a big challenge for us,” said David Wallace. “It always comes down to a small, inconspicuous portion.”
The startup has found success despite difficulties: they have sold 120 irrigation equipment to 20 farms located in eight US states and Canadian provinces.
Future: The new capital will help ramp up production of the equipment, allow for geographic expansion, and fund R&D and data collection. Wallace expects his 5-person team to potentially double during 2022, and is looking to move some of his fulfillment work from Skagit to a warehouse location in Seattle.
last word: Agtech has become an established area for the agriculture industry to save labor and reduce its impact on the environment. CODA Farms Technologies is no exception. Based on data collected from 3,000 irrigation activities over the past year, the startup’s technology saved 21 million gallons of water and 4,300 gallons of diesel fuel.