HerdDogg, an innovator of precision livestock and remote animal health, has closed $2.3 million in seed financing. Serra Ventures led the round, with additional financing from Innova Ventures and iSelect. As part of the transaction, Rob Schultz from Serra Ventures joined HerdDogg’s board of directors, along with Tom Trone, a former John Deere executive.
The seed funding from several mid-western VC firms with deep experience in agricultural technologies, IoT, and big data technologies is an expert validation of HerdDogg’s technology and market potential.
“We look for companies that solve difficult problems in really large industries,” said Rob Schultz, managing partner of Serra Ventures. “HerdDogg, through its patented animal sensor technologies, has the opportunity to build a unique dataset of animal vitals. This data, combined with HerdDogg’s proprietary algorithms, will help dairy farmers and ranchers dramatically improve operations.”
The large-animal livestock industry exceeds 4.5 billion animals and one trillion dollars, and is growing globally—even while the labor pool and expertise to care for individual animals is shrinking. The $2.3 million in financing enables HerdDogg to accelerate development and commercialization of its field-tested and proven system to monitor herd health to boost livestock profitability and sustainability.
Founded in 2015 by Melissa Brandao, a serial entrepreneur, HerdDogg markets a patented IoT-based system that includes DoggTags™ (attached to the animals’ ears); the cloud-connected DoggBone™ readers (placed at strategic sites around the farm, these gather livestock biometrics and behavioral data); and the HerdDogg mobile app (provides anytime/anywhere access and alerts for each animal’s health record).
By transmitting current herd information direct from field to cloud to mobile app, farmers now have real-time answers to key questions such as:
- Is my animal in heat?
- Is she ill or injured?
- Is she in the right pen or pasture?
“HerdDogg is a unique and innovative approach to improving herd health and happiness. This seed funding is an important milestone for us as it positions us to ramp up our manufacturing and expand our marketing and sales initiatives,” said Melissa Brandao, founder and CEO of HerdDogg. “We are actively seeking commercialization partners who share our vision of improving animal health insights for producers.”
HerdDogg requires minimal technical expertise and provides immediate insights without any previous health history or animal records. In field trials, farmers have seen two- to three-day early detection of illness and received real-time status updates on heats and missing animals, enabling them to get out to the animals faster. HerdDogg is already responding to strong demand and market presence in North America, Australia, and Brazil.
Tom Trone, who formerly led sales and marketing operations for John Deere, in an investor in HerdDogg and has joined the board. He sees huge potential for HerdDogg, following the company’s recent successful field trials: “From my experience in precision agriculture, technology commercialization and adoption are key to delivering real customer value. The HerdDogg team has the right focus on sales strategy and execution to make them an ideal candidate for broad adoption.”
About Serra Ventures
Serra Ventures is an early-stage venture-capital firm investing in technology companies in emerging Midwest technology centers and selected other geographies in under-served west coast markets. Sectors of focus include information technology, devices/instrumentation, and agricultural technologies. The profile of an ideal startup is one that has just finished an accelerator program, an Innovation-Corps program, or has been through a round of seed funding to establish and prove a strong product-market fit. Serra Ventures is headquartered in the University of Illinois Research Park in Champaign, Illinois, and has satellite offices located in San Diego, California and Chicago, Illinois. The Serra team comprises former technology CEOs who bring real-word insight and experience to the executive teams of Serra’s portfolio companies. For more information, visit http://www.SerraVentures.com.
Headquartered in Ashland, Oregon, HerdDogg Inc. is a venture-backed agtech startup focused on increasing herd happiness by deriving unparalleled insights into key indicators of animal health and well being. The HerdDogg system provides rapid and accurate breeding and health insights on individual animals, whether in the barn or pasture. HerdDogg reduces labor costs while increasing herd productivity and sustainability. For more information, visit http://www.herddogg.com.