CropX Technologies: How This Company Is Transforming The $200 Billion Precision Farming Market

By Amit Chowdhry • Dec 11, 2023

CropX is an ag-analytics company that develops powerful digital tools that provide advanced insights into agronomic operations and farm data to dramatically boost crop yields, reduce farming’s environmental impacts, and minimize water and energy costs for farms. Pulse 2.0 interviewed CropX chief revenue officer (CRO) John Gates to learn more about the company. 

John Gates’ Background

Before the CRO role at CropX, Gates held two previous positions within the company: (1) General Manager of CropX’s European division (Dacom Farm Intelligence), and (2) Senior Vice President – Product. And Gates said:

“Prior to CropX, most of my career has been on the technical side. I was head of science and product at CropMetrics, a startup focused on cloud-based tools for precision irrigation in Nebraska, I was a science lead at The Climate Corporation in San Francisco, and I was a university professor of soil and water science before that.”

“I’m responsible for coordinating our commercial activities globally and helping to shape our growth strategies going forward. In terms of my day-to-day, I work closely with our technology, sales and operational teams internally, and I am regularly connecting with customers and partners around the world.”

Favorite Memory

What has been your favorite memory working for CropX so far? Gates shared:

“It’s hard to pick, but I would say our global team events have to be near the top of my list. We are a distributed team with folks living in the US, Netherlands, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. Although we work very well remotely and get to know each other through video calls and team projects, it’s very special to get our international crew of people together in person once in a while.”

“Another contender would be our Partner Conference events. We’ve been running them annually in Nebraska for the last several years, and just a few weeks ago, we did our first one in Australia for our rapidly growing Australasia region. These are powerful events for mutual learning with our customers, and we always leave energized and full of ideas.”

Core Products

What are CropX’s core products and features? Gates explained:

“CropX focuses on creating advanced digital farm technologies that are powerful and simple to use. Our flagship product is the CropX agronomic farm management system. It is a system that combines cloud-based software, IoT sensors that monitor crops and soils, and advanced data analytics, which gives farmers, agronomic service providers, and agribusinesses access to timely field data and AI-supported agronomic advice (such as when to irrigate or when to spray for fungal diseases) accessed on their smartphones or computers.”

“Our clients use it for purposes that range from precision farming to sustainability monitoring and reporting to supply chain traceability. We are probably most recognized by the unique and recognizable design of our patented IOT sensors, but those are just one part of the equation. In addition to the flagship product, we have a range of other software applications and sensor device products that are region-specific in our various markets.”

Challenges Faced

When I asked Gates about some of the challenges he has overcome in terms of integrating global teams, he acknowledged:

“We do a fairly wide range of activities to help manage the global nature of the business, from creating good remote work policies to promoting global work cultures awareness to holding events for relationship building. One I would highlight would be around time zone management for distributed teams – some of our teams have a wide range of time zone offsets to deal with. And because we are global, you can always look on our Slack and see plenty of people with a green dot when it’s your bedtime. In these cases, we always want to make sure that folks understand that it’s important and appropriate to log off and recharge and to keep an eye out for other people’s time zones when proposing meetings. Even though we have a scrappy and hard-driving technology company culture, the reality is that everyone needs real downtime. On the product side of the equation, one universal law of the agricultural sector is that practices and relationships are extremely region-specific, and so we pay a lot of attention to localizing our tools to our target markets around the world so that they make sense to local farmers and fit well into local conditions.”

Evolution Of CropX’s Technology

How has the technology evolved since launching? Gates noted:

“CropX began with an innovative, first-of-its-kind soil sensor and connected app that provided irrigation advice based on real-time data. We expanded our vision, and now it is so much more. The CropX system offers a comprehensive view of field and crop health and gives users the ability to give their plants what they need before they show signs of stress. It offers insights into fungal disease threats, tracks nitrogen movement and salinity build-up in the soil, and can even be used to responsibly and safely manage animal effluent in fields and ponds. We aim to make on-farm data connected and easy to collect.”

“One of our newest features is the ability for users to upload farm machinery data into the system for visualization in the context of other data layers, offering a holistic view of the field. This view of crop and soil health is unprecedented.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of CropX’s most significant milestones? Gates cited:

“Many of our biggest milestones have been acquisitions. We have been pursuing a strategy of acquiring ag-tech companies with complementary technologies to build out our offerings. Thus, in 2020 we acquired Nebraska-based CropMetrics and New Zealand-based Regen, in 2021 we acquired Netherlands-based Dacom Farm Intelligence, and in 2022 we acquired California-based Tule Technologies. Each of these companies brought technological advances and agronomic expertise to the CropX system.”

“Our most recent acquisition of Green Brain, an Australian irrigation management solutions provider, significantly expands our reach in Australia and further strengthens our position as a global leader in digital precision agriculture. The acquisition will provide farmers in the region with easily deployed, digital farm management solutions spanning irrigation and weather management, effluent management, crop health monitoring, disease prevention, nutrition monitoring capabilities, and more.”

“Our ability to integrate teams and technologies without losing value is huge. In fact, we improve on the value of each individual company when it comes into the fold. We’re curating and developing the best technology from around the world to provide a system that can completely meet each farms’ needs at a local level. I’ve worked at much bigger companies who were not successful at doing this.”

Business Development Potential

Where do you see the most potential for business development? Gates replied:

“We see a ton of opportunities out there. For context, agriculture is literally the biggest industry in the world and only a small fraction of the addressable market has adopted any tools like ours. In addition, because of our technology focus area we are very well positioned to help with many of the biggest and most prominent macrotrends in the ag sector worldwide: sustainability, efficiency, digitization, and regulatory. In terms of our product use cases, we are further along commercially with precision farming applications than we are with sustainability to date, so I would not be surprised to see sustainability as our fastest growing applications over the next few years.”

Customer Success Stories

After asking Gates about customer success stories, he highlighted:

“We have some eye-popping statistics on how much our technology has been able to improve both yield and product quality on California wine grapes. Vineyards have been using our technology to really fine-tune water dosages to grapevines. We have even heard about a situation where our technology helped a vineyard enter a completely new wine category due to quality improvements brought about by precision water management.”

“Another example, New Zealand’s largest dairy company produces pasture-fed milk and meat. They used CropX to cut down on pasture irrigation, resulting in a 30% water savings and a boosted yield that allowed them to further reduce supplemental feed by 90%. (more details here


After asking Gates about the company’s funding information, he revealed:

“We are proud to have recently completed a $30 million Series C and have continued to fundraise since closing.”

Total Addressable Market

What total addressable market (TAM) size is CropX pursuing? Gates assessed:

“The total TAM for our segment of precision farming sector is around $200 billion, and we can add on top of that additional opportunities around sustainability and supply chain management.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates CropX from its competition? Gates affirmed:

“There are two types of competitors for CropX: the soil moisture sensor companies, which CropX began as, and the farm management software companies. We straddle the two categories by offering a product that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

“We have built a software platform that offers powerful and comprehensive agronomic insights and advice (on irrigation and much more) combined with hardware that is affordable, easy to install, dependable, and accurate. Traditional soil sensors don’t have those advantages, and traditional farm management software miss the soil-to-sky data angle that we provide. Adding onto that, we help with supply-chain tracking and tracing, making it possible for food processors to track and trace the on-field sustainability activities of their grower-suppliers.”

“Some of our competitors are doing some of these things, but none of our competitors are doing all of these things. All that said, we don’t focus a lot on competitors when we talk internally. In a nutshell, we all still feel that our biggest competitor is the farm that hasn’t digitized.”

Future Company Goals

What are some of CropX’s future company goals? Gates concluded:

“Big picture, we continue to drive towards our vision of becoming a globally-available one stop shop for a wide range of precision and sustainable farming solutions. When you look at adoption trends and the percentage of the addressable market yet to engage, we believe the future is very bright and we are still just getting started in some ways. Over the next few months, we have several exciting initiatives coming up that are now in the works, both on the product side and commercial partnership side, so stay tuned! Also we expect to make additional acquisitions in order to accelerate our buy-and-build rollup strategy.”

Evolution Of The Farm Management/Agtech Market

How do you see the farm management market/ agtech market evolving over the next 5 years and where does CropX fit in? Gates pointed out:

“One, is that I think digital tools on the farm will be considered much more mainstream within the next 5 years. We are moving from a situation where farm digitization has felt cutting-edge, to one where it is normal.”

“Another that I think (and hope) we will see is further interoperability between platforms. For example, we have seen an acceleration of the number of companies connecting to our APIs, and it’s not just us – this can help the farmer a lot by bringing data together for a more holistic view. I hope the industry continues a positive trend in this area and I think we’ll see that.”

“Finally, I expect to see a continued trend of consolidation in the industry, as there are many forces currently pushing in that direction. Ultimately, I think it can work out in favor of farmers in that the technologies and solutions will get better and better when we see less fragmentation of ag technology providers.”