GroGuru Secures $2.9 Million In Seed Funding

By Annie Baker • Sep 27, 2019
  • GroGuru announced it has raised $2.9 million in seed funding from a number of investors to grow its team, scale operations, and deploy critical sensor tech

San Diego-based GroGuru announced it has raised $2.9 million in seed funding from The Yield Lab, Longley Capital, Mentors Fund, the San Diego Angel Conference, Right Side Capital, and several other angel investors. GroGuru helps farmers make more money by increasing crop yield while efficiently using water and other scarce resources in a sustainable way via improved strategic irrigation management.

And the GroGuru patented wireless underground system (WUGS) enables the permanent installation of soil sensors in annual field crops such as corn and soybeans thus eliminating the need for annual installation and removal of soil sensors. Plus GroGuru uses machine learning and other data in the cloud to give farmers recommendations about when and how much to irrigate.

GroGuru’s WUGS-based systems can be buried below the till depth and communicate through several feet of soil wirelessly — which eliminate the need for the sensors to be annually installed and removed for respectively seeding and harvesting for these crops.

“Giving farmers real-time insights into the water in the ground near the root zone of a crop is essential for maximizing crop yield and more efficiently using water and other scarce resources in a sustainable way,” said GroGuru president and CEO Patrick Henry. “By having soil sensors permanently installed in the ground, then adding other information about crop type, soil type and weather, we can help farmers make better irrigation decisions and eventually drive automation of the irrigation process. The application of machine learning, or AI, to this data, makes the recommendations to farmers even better over time.”

Henry is a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits including an IPO of Entropic Communications, which resulted in a one-billion-dollar valuation. And Henry also held CEO positions QuestFusion, Pictos Technologies, and LinCom Wireless. Before that, Henry held senior management positions at LSI Logic and C-Cube Microsystems (now both a part of Broadcom).

“AI, ML, Edge, IoT, 5G are technology acronyms that are accelerating a data-driven world where information is real-time, anywhere, and anytime. GroGuru has assembled an experienced team of entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists with the right business and technical expertise to leverage these new technologies to solve a huge problem for farmers; real-time soil analysis,” added Rory Moore, CEO at EvoNexus, and a GroGuru board member. “Increasing crop yield and lowering costs begins with water management. GroGuru’s approach is both scalable and builds a platform to enable additional soil analysis beyond irrigation. Developing and bringing transformational products to market also requires experienced and visionary investors. GroGuru is fortunate to have an outstanding and growing investor base that recognizes the opportunity and believes the team can scale the business.”

Farooq Anjum, PhD, and Jeff Campbell, PhD, are also co-founders of GroGuru. At GroGuru, Dr. Anjum is the CTO and VP of engineering and Dr. Campbell is Chief Scientific Officer — who previously held key engineering management positions at On Ramp Wireless, Qualcomm and BellCore. And Dr. Campbell has more than 30 years of experience in soil sensor technologies and near field communication at companies like Vitel, Inc. (now Steven’s Water), Advanced Sensor Technologies, and UgMO.

“The Yield Lab is thrilled to bring GroGuru into its portfolio,” acknowledged Matt Plummer, a principal at The Yield Lab. “We believe they have a solution that is going to greatly impact growers and consumers alike. We believe the strong GroGuru team will fit in well with our mission and scale and grow the company.”

A number of investors are excited about GroGuru’s target market size and growth plans along with its key agriculture technology that it is delivering to the market that is solving a critical problem for farmers.

“With unmatched technology and powerful AI, Groguru is revolutionizing the Agriculture industry,” commented Denise Longley, a managing director at Longley Capital. “As an early investor in GroGuru, we are excited about what lies ahead in the next few years.”

GroGuru is planning to use the seed funding to grow its team, scale operations, and deploy critical sensor technologies that will be connected to the cloud in order to help farmers become more profitable, efficient, and push for more sustainable farming.

“Mentors Fund loves startups that have the potential to transform traditional industries,” noted Umair Khan, a founding partner at Mentors Fund. “GroGuru is addressing a proven need in the agriculture sector: its technology addresses the global issue of freshwater scarcity. Farmer’s worldwide need solutions like GroGuru that solve real problems for them and create real value for our society.”

GroGuru is a portfolio company at the EvoNexus technology incubator, a premier technology incubator in Southern California.