Valmont Industries, Inc., a US maker of irrigation and infrastructure equipment, said Wednesday it has entered an accord to buy Israel’s Prospera Technologies, a maker of artificial intelligence-based sensors and cameras for monitoring crops, for $300 million.
The acquisition is the culmination of a two-year strategic partnership set up between the companies in 2019. The merging of the firms will create the “largest global, vertically-integrated artificial intelligence (AI) company in agriculture,” the companies said in a statement.
With in-field cameras and climatic sensors, Prospera allows farmers to accurately remote-manage their fields with real-time analysis on what is happening to their crops — leaf by leaf and on a multi-field, multi-crop basis. This access allows them to tackle critical issues of underperforming fields caused by pests, disease, irrigation, nutrient deficiencies and sub-optimal agro-technical activities.
The solutions are cost-effective and scalable, enabling farmers to grow crops in a more efficient and sustainable way. They also ensure water, pesticides and fertilizers are used only as required and allow for the maximum potential crop yield to be delivered to market.
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, the statement said.
Since 2019, Valmont and Prospera have worked to integrate AI technologies to develop real-time crop analysis and anomaly detection solutions, resulting in more and more farmers using the technologies with greater returns for the growers, the statement said.
Using Prospera’s technology, the partnership has expanded its intelligent solutions, monitoring five million acres in 2020 against an original estimate of one million, with twice as many growers using the service as compared to 2019. Grower adoption is expected to double in 2021 with greater acceleration in the near-term, the statement said.
“Today’s acquisition is a testament to our commitment to make the farm more efficient and increase productivity while dramatically improving sustainability. Building on the successful partnership with Prospera, we are accelerating our commitment to provide services that enhance the lives of our customers and the communities in which they operate, as well as finding new ways to achieve higher crop yields using less – land, water, chemicals, fertilizers, fuel and time,” said Valmont president and chief executive officer Stephen G. Kaniewski.
“Our strategic partnership has demonstrated the unique combined value of Prospera’s capabilities and Valmont’s agricultural expertise and market leadership,” said Prospera co-founder and chief executive officer Daniel Koppel. “This combination is the fastest way to scale impactful ag-tech solutions.”
Prospera’s senior leadership team and its 90 workers will continue to be employed at the business, after the closing of the deal, the statement said. Prospera is also expected to expand its pool of talent.
Founded in 2014 by Koppel, Shimon Shpiz and Raviv Itzhaky, Prospera has been backed by investors including Bessemer, Qualcomm, Cisco, More VC and Tekfen. The startup has been listed among the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers and CB Insights Top 100 AI Companies. Prospera had raised $22 million from the investors to date, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.
Valmont is a global designer and manufacturer of highly engineered products and services for infrastructure and agricultural projects. It provides irrigation equipment and services for large-scale agriculture facilities. Its products for infrastructure serve highway, transportation, wireless communication, electric transmission, and industrial construction and energy markets. The US firm also provides coatings services that protect against corrosion and improve the service lives of steel and other metal products