HerdDogg, an innovator of precision livestock and remote animal health, announced July 20 that it has closed $2.3 million in seed financing.
Serra Ventures led the round, with additional financing from Innova Ventures and iSelect, the company said, noting that, as part of the transaction, Rob Schultz from Serra Ventures has joined HerdDogg’s board of directors, along with Tom Trone, a former John Deere executive.
The seed funding from several Midwestern venture capital firms with deep experience in agricultural technologies, the "internet of things" (IoT) and big data technologies is a validation of HerdDogg’s technology and market potential, the company said.
“We look for companies that solve difficult problems in really large industries,” said Schultz, managing partner of Serra Ventures. “HerdDogg, through its patented animal sensor technologies, has the opportunity to build a unique data set of animal vitals. [These] data, combined with HerdDogg’s proprietary algorithms, will help dairy farmers and ranchers dramatically improve operations.”
The $1 trillion-plus large-animal livestock industry exceeds 4.5 billion animals and is growing globally, even while the labor pool and expertise to care for individual animals is shrinking, HerdDogg said. This $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, according to the announcement.
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 (which are placed at strategic sites around the farm to gather livestock biometrics and behavioral data), and the HerdDogg mobile app (which provides anytime/anywhere access and alerts for each animal’s health record), the company explained.
By transmitting current herd information directly from field to cloud to mobile app, farmers 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,” Brandao said. “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 heat and missing animals, enabling them to get out to the animals faster, the company said, noting that it is already responding to strong demand and market presence in North America, Australia and Brazil.
Serra Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in technology companies in emerging Midwest technology centers and selected other geographies in underserved West Coast markets. Serra Ventures is headquartered at the University of Illinois Research Park in Champaign, Ill., and has satellite offices located in San Diego, Cal., and Chicago, Ill.
Headquartered in Ashland, Ore., HerdDogg Inc. is a venture-backed agricultural technology start-up focused on increasing herd happiness by deriving unparalleled insights into key indicators of animal health and well-being.