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Indigo Ag Acquires TellusLabs

Indigo Ag, Inc. has acquired TellusLabs, a two-year-old start-up that uses satellite imagery to develop ag insights. The addition of the platform will expand the scope and precision of Indigo Ag’s data insights and recommendation platform.

“At Indigo, we are always looking to expand and improve our offering to growers,” says David Perry, Indigo’s CEO. “TellusLabs’ technology will bolster our effort to produce rigorous and useful agronomic recommendations tailored to each acre of a farm. And the team behind the technology is fundamentally aligned to our mission.”

Founded by David Potere and Mark Friedl, TellusLabs has developed a living map of the world’s food supply, tracing farm management decisions and agronomic parameters in real time, including field boundaries, crop type, planting and harvest dates, and overall crop performance. Paired with proprietary machine learning, the platform can infer the environmental impact of farming practices from space. These insights were combined with weather and other historical data, along with predictive algorithms, for the company to create Kernel, which gathers insights on the global food system. This flagship product, which has the ability to monitor crop progress daily and forecast crop yields before harvest, will be leveraged by Indigo to enable data-based decision making for farmers and buyers throughout the season.

By equipping Indigo’s agronomists with TellusLabs’s spatial insights on a grower’s yield potential and the land’s unique characteristics, they can make recommendations to improve overall crop yield and quality. By taking advantage of geospatial insights to optimize the agricultural value chain, Indigo will also further enhance its ability to deliver high-quality, sustainably grown crops to the right buyers.

“We imagine the combination of satellite data and machine learning providing a spectrum of insights to growers — from the past, in the present, and for the future of their farms,” says Geoffrey von Maltzahn, Indigo’s cofounder and chief innovation officer. “Understanding each field on its own terms, identifying the features that make it unique, and predicting the best products and growing practices for every acre of land are tricky, nebulous agricultural questions. With Indigo’s acquisition of TellusLabs, a farmer looking to grow his or her best crop can receive personalized data and recommendations that change the course of a growing season for the better.”

The partnership between the two companies began through Indigo Research Partners, a program designed to evaluate agricultural technologies to support growers with real-time, farm-specific insights. One collaboration included Indigo’s use of the Kernel platform to assess 40,000-plus acres of Indigo Wheat in the fall of 2018.

The TellusLabs’ team, which includes statisticians, scientists, and engineers utilizing remote sensing technology to analyze large quantities of agricultural, weather, and satellite data, will become a part of Indigo’s Geospatial Innovation unit.

“Joining Indigo will allow us to strengthen and expand the scope of the agricultural intelligence platform we have spent years building, while making a significant impact with constellations of satellites orbiting our planet,” says Potere. “After working with Indigo for the past year, it’s clear to me that their team is uniquely positioned to harness that platform for the benefit of growers, buyers, and consumers around the world. We look forward to integrating our satellite imagery and machine learning technologies with Indigo’s deep agronomic expertise and their fast-growing, farm-scale databases to help farmers sustainably feed the planet.”

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