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Global Ag Investing reports:

High-resolution precision agricultural intelligence company Taranis announced it has raised $30 million through a Series C led by Temasek-backed Vertex Growth, Singapore-based Kuok Group through its venture capital arm K3 Ventures, and Japan's Hitachi Group.

Existing investors Finistere Ventures, OurCrowd, Vertex Ventures Israel, and Viola Group were also joined by Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, iAngels, and Gal Yarden, the president of the EMEA division at drip-irrigation company Netafim Ltd., in this round that brought total funding for Taranis to $60 million.

Founded in 2015, Taranis' technology is built upon four pillars: artificial intelligence, software, hardware, and operations, according to Avner Gideoni, Israel country manager for the company.

Serving large-scale farming operations in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, and Australia, Taranis is focused on high-volume crops such as corn, cotton, and sugar cane, which combined accounts for 70 percent of the crops grown in the world.

With a fleet of drones and low-flying aerial vehicles, Taranis captures ultra-high-resolution imagery. These images are analyzed by the company's AI platform which aggregates data from satellite images, sensors, and smart irrigation systems to detect and identify early signs of crop diseases, pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, water issues, or other crop risk factors.

The company said its system can cover an area of 400,000 square meters in just six minutes, offering farmers the ability to scout more than 7,000 hectares per day.

"With Taranis' support, growers, retailers, cooperatives, and crop consultants can detect, analyze, and treat crop issues at their earliest signs, taking preventive measures with unprecedented precision and gaining a higher degree of control over their crop yield than ever before," said Hock Chuan Tam, managing director, Vertex Growth.

This round follows a $20 million Series B raised by Taranis in November 2018 that was led by Vila Ventures - which chose Taranis as its first investment in the digital ag space.

"After analyzing the digital farming industry, we proudly chose Taranis to be our first investment in this space," said Zvika Orron, partner at Viola Ventures at the time. "Taranis has all the necessary ingredients to become the leader in farm digitalization: a comprehensive precision agriculture solution, leading industry partners to scale and penetrate the market and a passionate team making it all happen. Taranis' solution provides both the diagnosis of the problem as well as the cure."

Taranis co-founder Ofir Schlam noted that the funding from this Series C will be channeled into strengthening the company's sales and marketing initiatives, telling Calcalist in a phone interview, "We started raising the money at the end of February and the most serious talks were held in March at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. We got a lot of offers from prominent investors but eventually chose to stick with Vertex."

Schlam went on to note that Taranis' work with farmers and the agriculture industry insulated the company from the worst effects of the pandemic.

"The U.S. went into shock from mid-March through early April, but then we went back to work and the farmers went back to work," he said, adding, "Our industry is one of the few that benefited from the crisis."

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